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This week, engineers at MINI have revealed that the series development process for the new electric Mini is almost complete and the brand new model is currently being previewed by Head of MINI brand management Sebastian Mackensen and Head of MINI series management Peter Wolf .
The new model features a combustion engine combined with an electric motor which enables purely electric propulsion for the very first time in a MINI. This is of great excitement to MINI fans all over the globe who will now get to experience this iconic British car in hybrid mode.
Managers, Mackensen and Wolf explained, following a test drive, how the MINI retains its go-kart feeling. Mackensen said; “With this model we want to convince MINI customers of the benefits of hybrid drive…. and impress everyone who already has hybrid driving experience with MINI’s unique go-kart driving feel.”
Intelligent energy management has been used to control the combustion engine and electric motor which operate together. For this reason, the first MINI plug-in hybrid model is not solely focused on efficiency, but instead, continues to deliver uncompromising fun to its future owners.
From the outset, you wouldn’t recognise this test MINI as a hybrid model, that’s because the charging socket for the high-voltage battery is discreetly integrated in the left Side Scuttle. Step inside the cockpit and everything will look familiar, aside from the start/stop button in the centre of the dash that glows yellow instead of red. To start the MINI, you simply press the usual button, but as the engine starts up the vehicle will remain silent whilst the hybrid starts in electric mode.
The rpm counter in the instrument cluster on the steering column has now been replaced with a power display so drivers can keep a close eye on the display for the first few miles, to gain information about the electric motor’s power reserves before the combustion engine kicks in. When exactly the combustion engine starts varies depending on the vehicle’s speed and the intensity of the driver’s acceleration.
The new driving experience promises a lot of driving fun. The hybrid MINI makes full use of the electric motor’s entire torque, which is available right from standstill, allowing for catapult-like acceleration. Even after leaving the slower pace of the city, the new electric MINI continues to maintain its zero-tailpipe emissions at motorway speeds.
The high-voltage battery under the rear seats provides power for long-lasting electric driving. AUTO eDRIVE standard mode permits speeds of up to 50 mph, whilst in MAX eDRIVE mode speeds of up to 78 mph are possible.
Mackensen adds: “In a hybrid MINI model, driving electrically must also be an exhilarating experience. This means that entirely electric driving is not limited to speeds of 30 or 40 km/h, but to speeds well beyond city traffic pace.”
With the combined output of both drives, the first MINI hybrid vehicle demonstrates unparalleled acceleration performance when compared with its combustion-only siblings. However, MINI’s go-kart driving characteristics consists of more than just fast acceleration.
Peter Wolf comments; “As far as the chassis and suspension are concerned, nothing changes from the conventionally driven model variants, and the set-up benefits a lot from the hybrid concept”. Thanks to the eDrive components, which are positioned very low down at the rear, the car’s centre of gravity is lowered and the weight is evenly balanced between the front and rear axle – ideal for maintaining a high level of MINI agility.
When driving on the motorway, drivers can activate a third mode with the eDrive toggle switch: SAVE BATTERY. In this mode, the combustion engine powers the car whilst at the same time, the high voltage battery can retain charge at a constant level or increase charge via a generator. Extended driving in SAVE BATTERY mode enables enough power generation for purely electric driving later.
At the end of a journey, the status display in the cockpit reminds the driver to recharge the battery via wallbox or power socket. Simple.
For more information on the new all-electric MINI, visit www.mini.co.uk.