Electric Mini Rocketman (mini Mini) Could Be On The Way From BMW

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This is a story that I’m sure will get my mom to perk up — she (like many) is a huge fan of the BMW Mini Cooper styling, which seems to bring us back to another era while still fitting in nicely with a modern life and especially the cities of today.

Once upon a time, BMW unveiled a “mini Mini” concept that it called the Rocketman. Back then (2011), it wasn’t an electric concept, and it was deemed too difficult to do because getting all of the organs and veins of a gasmobile packed into such a small car (with that design and adequate interior space) was an idea that just wasn’t based in reality. However, with the ongoing development and improvement of electric vehicle technology, the option is actually on the table now, and BMW is excited about it.


As a quick reminder, as well, there was a small pilot program with electrified BMW Minis, as part of BMW’s ActiveE program — which was the predecessor to the BMW i program that famously launched the fun & torquey BMW i3, the hot & sporty BMW i8, and, hopefully soon, will launch the practical + spacious (but still fun & hot) BMW i5.

Anyhow, what spurred on all of this chatter?… Some recent statements by Mini product chief Ralph Mahler (coming to us via Autocar & Green Car Reports). Granted, they weren’t anywhere close to definite, but they indicated that BMW is very seriously considering the option.

Mini-Rocketman-1 Mini-Rocketman-2 Mini-Rocketman-3

From Autocar:

“The Rocketman is inspiring us as of today, especially as an EV in the future,” said Mahler.

“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 [as to whether it is possible to make such a small car].”

Detail_obenerZU_licht2_ 003 Mini-Rocketman-6 Mini-Rocketman-7

In addition to the Mini Cooper, Autocar notes that the Rocketman could take design elements from the MINI Superleggera Vision, a beautiful electric roadster concept that has got to be one of my favorite car designs ever (though, yet again, I’m having a hard time getting over the fake grille now that I’m used to and loving the clean front of the Model 3 and Model X).

Highlighting the popularity of the Superleggera Vision (come on, how could that thing not be popular?!), Autocar writes:

This was a collaboration between Mini’s design team and coachbuilder Touring Superleggera and previewed Mini’s future design language on a two-seat, rear-wheeldrive roadster concept.

However, the concept car has proven such a hit that Mini is investigating ways of putting it into production, although it would seem unlikely at this stage.

Mahler described it as “the second concept that’s inspiring us at the moment”.

There had been “very positive feedback on the car,” he said, but the “roadster segment is small and demand is going down, with new markets opening up. The growth is not there, so it’s always a challenge”.

Mahler added: “It fits perfectly into the brand, but we’re a small [on sales volume] car brand and have to be focused and know what we want to have. The Superleggera is playing a role but no decisions.”

I think the Rocketman is an awesome idea, especially with some more design cues from the Superleggera Vision, and I hope BMW can make it happen with a fully electric drivetrain, decent range (~150 miles), and competitive pricing. But I guess I’m just on a BMW kick today. Related stories published hours ago include:

BMW i3 Gets Up To 114 Miles Of Range In USA

Protonic Blue BMW i3 (h/t Photoshop & BMW) & Midnight Blue i3

What do you think about the electric Rocketman idea?

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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15 thoughts on “Electric Mini Rocketman (mini Mini) Could Be On The Way From BMW

  • Translation: Tesla tells us what to think and do and we currently lag their products by more than a decade. We can’t wait to buy a roadster from them but can’t even get our claws on a used Tesla last mid-decade classic.

  • It looks fantastic! They should greenlight both!

  • “With Rocketman, and talking EV in the future, as the EV engine gets more portable,”
    Great concept, I hope to see it completed! EVs don’t have engines.

  • That is a radical hatch and roof design! Is the RocketMan about the same size as the original Mini?

    • yes, i like that 😀 but have a hard time believe it would make it to production. seems like it must compromise safety on numerous fronts.

      size: idk. they make it sound like it’s smaller. but it looks comparable to my untrained eyes.

      • I love that hatch with the central hinge, but I can’t imagine it surviving any sort of stress testing.
        Add some solid areas framing the roof and I’d bet it would be as safe as existing vehicles with “panorama” moonroofs. Oh, and those open areas in the Union Jack look like perfect places to stick solar cells!

  • Why is the Rocketman about to run over a blue wire spool in one of the photos? As the picture chooser, Zach, you must know the answer!

  • Holy dang, that Superleggera. Seldom have I seen something so close to perfect in design and color choice.

    The Rocketman is adorable, and looks like a charming character inside and out. I can’t help but worry that it would be absolute death on wheels, however… though obviously, by objective standards, it would probably still be safer than anything built 40 or 50 years ago. Still, one can’t help but feel like a little hamster-ball rolling around the feet of stomping elephants in something that tiny.

    • Yes, I fell in love with that design immediately. Has come to mind several times. But the funny thing was looking at it again yesterday and wishing it had a clean, smooth nose. 😀

  • The smaller the better, that is what Mini is (was) all about, I use to own a Mini Cooper and one learns to drive it defensively, drivers today are biased because of SUV-ing.

    The Legge design looks like a New-ish Thunderbird knock-off, I’d much prefer a eLotus 7 to it…

  • The Rocketman is a fabulous idea. I had my first Mini when I was twelve. An 850 if anyone remembers those. It was old in 1963. Graduated all the way up to a 1275 Mini Cooper S fully race modified. It would eat Corvettes from light to light. HA HA. Anyway, the Rocketman needs a full hatch, all the way down to the bumper. We had a Civic with that sort of tailgate/hatch combo, the tailgate was always in the way, and prevents you getting under the hatch out of the rain, plus lifting anything out of the back means you must lean way over, putting strain on your back. Really lame, IMHO.

  • They’re both beautiful. As a countryman owner, I’d love for my next vehicle to be an electric MINI. How likely is it?
    Remember, MINI is a BMW brand.

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