It’s almost a decade because the area trials of the Mini E prototype within the UK. Loaned to chose members of the general public (in addition to in different international locations together with the US and Germany), it was an experimental automobile that misplaced its rear seats to make approach for a battery pack.
A lot of BMW’s curiosity was in monitoring real-world use of an EV that had a spread restricted to round 100 miles in probably the most beneficial circumstances.
Completely different international locations confirmed totally different habits (US customers recharged their Mini Es much more usually than customers in Germany, for instance), however it did show that even limited-range EVs may very well be utilized in the identical approach as a standard Mini or BMW 1 Collection: most journeys had been of not more than 85 miles a day.
An enormous drawback for the Mini E was the powersapping heating system, which dragged the vary down as little as 45 miles in deep winter. I met a number of the UK Mini E drivers on the Oxford plant the place they cheerily revealed how they wore coats and hats to increase the winter vary.
The brand new electrical Mini will likely be a world away in usability, with 4 seats and a realworld vary that shouldn’t drop under 110 miles even on the coldest day. However will an electrical Mini grow to be a mainstream mannequin as a part of the fourth-generation Mini? Possibly not.
In June, BMW’s director of improvement, Klaus Fröhlich, instructed shocked journalists that there was “no buyer requests” for battery-electric automobiles. Whereas “regulators” had been demanding them, Fröhlich mentioned the one actual markets had been in China and California.
He mentioned all different markets could be finest accommodated by plug-in hybrids “with a great EV vary”. Will such brutal enterprise honesty prevail when BMW is planning the longer term Mini household?