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The MINI Strip by Paul Smith Illustrates Just How Much Excess There Is in a Modern Car

The MINI Strip by Paul Smith Illustrates Just How Much Excess There Is in a Modern Car

The British designer has collaborated with MINI in an attempt to demonstrate that luxury and sustainability can co-exist

Among the various special editions and artistic interpretations that have distinguished the MINI brand’s history, the most recent one in chronological order is the MINI Strip by designer Paul Smith. The car was unveiled in London a few days ago. It is a one-of-a-kind example based on the notion of sustainable design. The goal was to simplify the car as much as possible without giving the impression that it had been stripped down.

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MINI Cooper EV

MINI Cooper EV

The car was recently spotted testing in the EV avatar that will be sold alongside the fuel-powered Cooper

After entering the world of electrification with the Mini Cooper SE a couple of years back, the automaker is now gearing up for its next adventure. The next-gen Mini Cooper EV was recently spied in Sweden during a winter test session. The upcoming Mini Copper EV is still at least a couple of years away, but it will play an important part in shaping the company’s future. The car was spied with heavy camouflage that barely gives anything away, but here’s what we’ve documented about it.

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Our Predictions for How Mini John Cooper Works Will Transition to Electrification

Our Predictions for How Mini John Cooper Works Will Transition to Electrification

Mini wants to take electrification to a new level with JCW models

As part of the BMW Group, the Mini brand is also slowly moving toward electrification. The British brand is now offering a hybrid version of the Countryman and an all-electric variant of the Cooper (called Mini Electric), but it wants to expand further. Next on the list, according to Mini, is a John Cooper Works model, and the company is already working on concept cars that will preview a high-performance EV.

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2020 MINI Cooper SE Picture Gallery

2020 MINI Cooper SE Picture Gallery

The Mini Cooper is now electric but it’s not without compromise

Mini is attempting to take the electric car market by storm, and it’s doing so with the 2020 Mini Cooper EV – a model that Mini claims it already has 15,000 orders for on the U.S. market alone. It comes with a 32.6 kWh battery that Mini says is good for 168 miles of range – a figure that’s considerably lower than the competition The Nissan Leaf +, for example, offers up 226 miles while the Chevy Bolt delivers 238 miles.

Range aside, the Mini Cooper EV has a single electric motor that’s good for 181 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. Mini claims it’ll hit 60 mph in 6.9 seconds, so highway merging should be simple enough, but top speed is limited to 110 mph.

The interior isn’t all that different from the standard Cooper, but it does come with the 6.5-inch navigation system. There’s also a new “Dynamic Digital Instrument cluster” with a digital speedo and new indicators for charge level and range. Overall, however, the Cooper EV is a mini through and through.

As far as charging goes, there’s going to be a little bit of compromise. If you use the standard charging cable that Mini considers “occasional” and plugs into a standard 120-volt outlet, you’ll get a full charge in 24 hours. Us the TurboCord and a 240-volt outlet, and you’ll get a full charge overnight or in about 8 hours. The Level 2 home charger, that you’ll undoubtedly have to pay for, gives you a full charge in about 4 hours. A DC public charger system will give you an 80-percent charge in 40 minutes, so you’ll at least be okay out and about.

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Mini Announces the All-Electric Cooper SE and It's Already Irrelevant

Mini Announces the All-Electric Cooper SE and It’s Already Irrelevant

The SE has the looks, but not the specs to make a strong case for itself

The intrusion of electrification into the market has not just changed the mechanical dynamics of a car, but has also brought in a new design philosophy altogether. But, let’s be real here for a minute. If there was one car or brand from the current crop that can nonchalantly slip into EV clothes, it is the Mini Cooper. Automakers are adopting crazy-ass designs for their EVs that may or may not please consumers, but an electric Mini? It can’t have any haters; in the looks department at least. However, it looks like the car is dead on arrival because things look pretty only on the outside. Going by the initial impressions, I’d say Mini missed a huge opportunity to make a name for itself.

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2020 Mini Cooper EV

2020 Mini Cooper EV

Will it be a breakthrough car for Mini, or just another BMW i3 reincarnate?

Mini has officially entered the EV fray, and we have finally uncovered the proof. To be honest, Mini Cooper is one of the very few cars from the current combustion-engined crop that could slip into an EV avatar without any cosmetic changes. We have seen automakers going bonkers with the so-called ’futuristic’ designs with slim headlights, sharp cut lines, etc. But in contrast, the Mini Cooper gels well with those electric cars with its retro, rounded looks, and Mini seems to understand that. The 2020 Mini Cooper SE has been spotted sans camo doing some all-electric testing. This electric Mini is based on the Cooper S and looks largely similar to it albeit with a few minor changes. Will the retro-looking Mini Cooper SE make a name for itself in arguably the most competitive segment in the right now?

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Mini UK Shows Off Design Sketches of the First Electric Mini; Promises 2019 Debut

Mini UK Shows Off Design Sketches of the First Electric Mini; Promises 2019 Debut

All-electric MIni is finally coming into shape

Ten years after Mini introduced the Mini-E electric prototype, the German automaker is finally on the verge of launching its first-ever production electric model. MINI is presenting initial design sketches of its future fully electric production model. The pair of sketches show two distinct sections of the all-electric Mini, one of which we already saw in the concept version that was unveiled last year at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

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2017 MINI Electric Concept

2017 MINI Electric Concept

Previews a production model that will arrive in 2019

The modern Mini Cooper was launched in 2001, some 42 years after the British firm launched the original model. This time build under BMW Group ownership, the Mini became more of a fashion statement rather than an affordable, people’s car, but this is exactly what turned it into a big hit. Redesigned in 2006 and 2013, the Cooper grew larger and larger and gained more technology with each generation. In 2017, Mini introduced its first hybrid model, the S E Countryman All4, and it’s now looking to launch its first-ever electric car. And it just unveiled the Mini Electric Concept ahead of the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Designed as a preview for a production model that will be introduced in 2019, the Mini Electric Concept arrives almost ten year since Mini built its first EV, the Mini E. More of a demonstration vehicle rather than a production car, the Mini E was produced between 2009 and 2010 in the form of a three-door Cooper. More than 600 cars were deployed in several countries for on-road testing in a project that eventually led to a couple of BMW trial cars and finally the i3. A modern reinterpretation of the Mini E, the Electric Concept moves Mini one step closer to joining the EV market. It’s a bit late to the party, but as they say, better late than never.

Updated 09/19/2017: We added a series of new images taken during the concept’s debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini Electric Concept.

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Meet the Mini Countryman E Prototype

Meet the Mini Countryman E Prototype

The British brand prepares its first-ever hybrid

The first production series hybrid car, the Toyota Prius, may be only two decades old, but hybrid drivetrains have become increasingly popular over the years, to the extent that nearly every automaker offers or is at least working on one. Such is the case with Mini, which is about to launch its first-ever hybrid.

Still being tested on public roads ahead of production, the company’s first hybrid will be based on the Countryman crossover. Dubbed Countryman E, it’s almost identical to the conventional model, but uses hybrid technology borrowed from BMW, and is all-wheel drive when the combustion engine and electric motor are used at the same time.

Although Mini has yet to showcase a production-ready model and the prototype is still wearing the familiar black-and-yellow camouflage, the hybrid is identical to its gasoline and diesel siblings on the outside. Like any plug-in, it does feature a charging socket, but the device is discreetly integrated into the small vent on the left bumper (or side scuttle in Mini talk). The production car will also sport an "E" badge, but other than that, you won’t know it’s a hybrid.

Inside, the start/stop button in the center of the dashboard glows yellow instead of red, while the instrument cluster display will include a battery status display and other hybrid-specific information.

Mini didn’t say what engine and electric motor make up the hybrid drivetrain, but a turbocharged, 1.5-liter three-cylinder and a compact motor rated at 88 horsepower are the most likely options. The three-pot will spin the front wheels, while the electric motor will be installed right over the rear axle and will motivate the rear wheels.

The British firm says that the hybrid model will always start in electric mode, while the combustion engine will be engaged depending on the vehicle’s speed and the intensity with which the driver operates the accelerator pedal. Speaking of the latter, Mini promises "catapult-like acceleration" due to the instant torque generated by the electric motor. The drivetrain will have three modes. Auto eDrive will permit speeds of up to 50 mph, while Max eDrive will allow the driver to travel with speeds of up to 78 mph. The third mode is Save Battery, in which the combustion engine moves the car while the high voltage battery retains charge at a constant level or recharge via the generator.

The hybrid also gives us our best look at the next-generation Countryman. The design is obviously evolutionary and the vehicle appears to ride a little taller than the current model. It should also be longer and wider, as all Mini cars have grown larger with each generation. The new Countryman will be unveiled by the end of the year and arrive in showrooms in 2017.

Continue reading for the full story.

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First All-Electric Mini Set For 2019 Arrival; BMW X3 EV To Follow In 2020

First All-Electric Mini Set For 2019 Arrival; BMW X3 EV To Follow In 2020

BMW has made a lot of gains in electrification, but the competition is coming up too

With rival automakers continuing to push for the development of autonomous driving technology, BMW is ramping up its own efforts and it’s not limiting itself to just the main brand. Speaking with Bloomberg, BMW CEO Harald Krueger confirmed that the German automaker is preparing the first battery-powered model under the Mini brand with a target to get it out on the market by 2019.

Details about the model have yet to be disclosed, but Krueger said that it would be competitive in the critical aspects of the market, including range and price. The announcement doesn’t come as a surprise as the landscape of the industry continues to shift towards an electrified future. Mini’s rivals, including Opel and Renault, were actively present at the 2016 Paris Motor Show to tout their new electric models. Renault, in particular, presented an EV version of the Zoe that promised an NED cycle-certified range of 250 miles.

It’s not yet known if that number is going to be the new standard in the industry, but expect the Mini EV to have similar credentials on the back of advancements made by BMW in electrification. The German automaker has, after all, pushed for hybrid and EV developments earlier than most companies, having done so as early as the turn of the decade, culminating in the creation of the “i” subbrand and the release of the i3 hatchback in 2013 and the i8 sports coupe in 2014. Expect the upcoming Mini EV to benefit from BMW’s headstart in this field.

In related news, Krueger also announced that a battery-powered version of the X3 SUV is also in the pipeline, albeit with a later release date (2020) compared to the Mini EV. The same strategy is expected to be deployed for the SUV as the German automaker looks to bolster its lineup of electric vehicles ahead of the impending onslaught of EV models to hit the market from its competitors.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Mini Plans All-Electric Vehicle And Mazda MX-5 Competitor

Mini Plans All-Electric Vehicle And Mazda MX-5 Competitor

Nothing is promised, but Mini could expand lineup with Superleggera & Rocketman

Mini is an interesting low-volume brand and every model pretty much looks the same. In all honesty, you can’t mistake any of them for anything but a Mini. In the past few years or so, Mini has released a few different concepts that may lead to the brand changing for the better. Remember the 2011 Mini Rocketman Concept and the 2012 Mini Rocketman Olympic Concept? Or how about the 2014 Mini Superleggera concept? Well, those concepts might make it into production after all.

According to Autocar, Mini product chief Ralph Mahler has said the brand was looking at whether a small car like the Rocketman could be worth producing, and that that brand had “nothing against” making a smaller model like it in the future. In case you don’t know, the Rocketman is essentially a miniature Mini Cooper that measured just under 10.5 feet in length. Here’s the kicker, though: the Rocketman could go into production as an all-electric vehicle. Wait, what?

Mahler said, “The Rocketman is inspiring us as of today, especially as an EV in the future. It was something that was ahead of its time but is still inspiring. With a smaller car, it’s a bigger challenge. With Rocketman, and talking EV in the future, as the EV engine gets more portable, it’s give and take.” If this does end up playing out, Mini would probably tap into BMW’s i brand for the technology to make it happen.

What’s more, is that the brand is also being “inspired” by the 2014 Mini Superleggera. It’s not exactly likely at this point, but the brand has gotten overall positive feedback from the concept. If the Superleggera did go into production, it would compete against the likes of the Mazda MX-5, but Mahler has admitted that the “roadster segment is small, and demand is going down.” That said, it is inspiring the brand, and it is a possibility, but the brand hasn’t made any decisions about putting the concept into production as of yet.

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Mini Superleggera Could Still Make it to Production

Mini Superleggera Could Still Make it to Production

Though it has been a slow process, Mini is still considering developing a production version of the Superleggera Roadster, according to a new report.

The roadster, which the 2014 Mini Superleggera Vision previewed, has been a bit on and off as of late, but this report indicates that the automaker is still trying to build a business case for the niche roadster. According to Peter Schwarzenbauer, head of the Mini, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorcycle brands, “...the interest was tremendous when we showed this concept car. I think also the technological part is extremely interesting because we are working on electrification for Mini.”

Though there is still plenty of interest, Schwarzenbauer made it clear that a decision on its production future is still up in the air because it is “an economically challenging project.” This comes as no surprise, as the Superleggera is nothing like its potential siblings, despite sharing a basic design language. Whereas other Mini models are gasoline powered and have a squashed-hatchback look, the Superleggera is slated to have an electric powertrain and proportions that no Mini before it has had.

So for now we just wait and see if Mini and BMW can come up with a good reason to build this tiny sports car. If it did make its way to the production line, initial estimates put it at around €35,000 ($39,375 as of 2015). At this price point, it could give higher-end Miata shoppers something to think about, particularly those who prefer alternative fuels.

With more than a year in the books since the concept debuted, look for Mini to make a decision soon or risk losing momentum.

Continue reading for the full story.

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