Calling all MINI fans. Catapult yourself in the gutsy and charming electric MINI.  The BMW Group has recently announced that the iconic British motor vehicle, MINI, will introduce its first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) enabling purely electric propulsion.

Engineers at MINI recently revealed that the series development for the new electric MINI is nearly complete. Head of MINI brand management, Sebastian Mackensen, and Head of MINI series management, Peter Wolf, preview the first PHEV MINI.

Sebastian Mackensen (passenger) and Peter Wolf (behind the wheel) preview the first PHEV MINI. Even the dashboard was kept under wraps.

Sebastian Mackensen (passenger) and Peter Wolf (behind the wheel) preview the first PHEV MINI. Even the dashboard was kept under wraps.

“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.” says Mackensen.

After his preview of the plug-in hybrid MINI, Wolf promised: “After a short time, the driver gets a feel for this.”

Differentiating features

When you cast your eye on the PHEV MINI, the difference between the electric and petrol models are subtle.  And that’s not because of the camouflage foil used.  The interior and cockpit look very similar.  The modification is that the dashboard is now yellow instead of red.  When you hit the stop/start button, it is silent as the PHEV MINI always starts in electric mode.

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A power display replaces the rpm counter in the instrument cluster on the steering column.  While driving the first few kilometres, it is important to take into account this display as it indicates what the electric motor reserves are before the combustion engine kicks in.

An intelligent energy management system controls the optimum use of both the combustion and electric motor.  The electric motor sends power to the rear wheels while the combustion engine transmits energy to the front wheels.  The intelligent system is linked to Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) that optimises traction and drive stability.

The electric hybrid MINI doesn’t compromise on power either and definitely doesn’t diminish the fun that you can have in a MINI. The high-voltage battery located under the rear seats provides long-lasting electric driving.  Even with a slow take-off, the MINI maintains its zero-tailpipe emissions and retains its go-kart feeling in the true essence of MINI.  Taking corners and bends in the road is still as exciting as ever, if not more fun as the car’s centre of gravity is lowered and the weight is evenly distributed between the front and rear axle.

The two drive modes, AUTO eDRIVE and MAX eDrive, allow a maximum speed of 80 and 125km/h respectively. So you can still experience the exhilarating drive and unparalleled acceleration performance that MINI’s combustion-only siblings offer.  A third mode SAVE BATTERY can be activated while driving a steady speed.  The combustion engine kicks in to power the car and allows the battery to retain its charge.  With extended driving in SAVE BATTERY mode, there will be enough power generation to drive fully in electric mode when required.

An overview of the highlights

  • The brand’s first ever plug-in hybrid model.
  • High-quality BMW Group eDrive components, configured to suit this specific model, that draw on expertise gained from the development of BMW iPerformance vehicles.
  • 3-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor combine to produce a total system output of 165 kW.
  • Fuel consumption in the EU test cycle: 2.1 litres/100 km, CO2 emissions: 49 g/km.
  • Electric driving at speeds of up to 125 km/h with a range of up to 40 kilometres.
  • Novel driving experience due to the electrified all-wheel drive system ALL4.
  • Lithium-ion high-voltage battery can be charged at a wallbox in 2:15 hours.
  • Three operating modes available for selection via eDrive toggle switch.
  • Hybrid-specific displays.

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Are you a MINI fan? What do you think about the first plug-in hybrid electric MINI?  Was it well worth the wait?  Tell us in the comments section below.

Be sure to follow us on Social Media or visit the MINI website for updates on when the electrifying MINI will be launched in South Africa.

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