Plug-In Hybrid MINI Countryman Caught Testing

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Originally published on Gas2.

Rumors of a plug-in hybrid MINI Countryman have been swirling for a while now. But the emphasis was always the PHEV MINI was coming, never that it was actually here. Now, according to BMWBlog, prototypes have been caught testing in the wild. And this is not some ordinary plug-in vehicle like you might get from Toyota or Hyundai. No, this is a hairy chested beast the borrows heavily from the mighty BMW i8 sports car.

mini-countryman-hybrid-spy-photos-02-1024x682Isn’t this what we have all been pleading for — a plug-in hybrid crossover instead of another boring sedan? The MINI Countryman is “mini” in name only. This thing is HUGE. I was behind one in traffic the other day. I haven’t seen hips that wide since my great aunt Bertha shuffled off this mortal coil back in ’08. The upcoming Countryman is said to be even longer and wider.

Branded the MINI Countryman E, the new model will have a 1.5 liter turbocharged three cylinder engine powering the front wheels through a six speed automatic transmission. An electric motor takes care of turning the rear wheels. A high voltage generator mounted to the front axle will provide added boost to the engine for short periods of time, generate electricity for the battery, and act as a starter motor.

Specs on the powertrain are as follows. The gasoline engine front is rated at 136 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. Another 20 horsepower is available from the front mounted motor/generator. The electric motor in the rear has 88 horsepower and 122 lb-ft of torque. Electric only range is said to be 24 miles in the European test cycle. The car can travel up to 50 mph before the combustion engine gets added to the mix. The hybrid Countryman has exactly the same interior volume as the regular car, right down to the underfloor storage area in the rear. Both seat 5 passengers.

We don’t have word on availability of the Countryman E or pricing information yet, but it should be a welcome addition to the MINI lineup. The plug-in hybrid version of the BMW 3 series is sold out across Europe, with demand far exceeding BMW’s expectations. They are hoping to have the same problem when the Countryman E is becomes available.

Source and photo credits: BMW Blog

Reprinted with permission.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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3 thoughts on “Plug-In Hybrid MINI Countryman Caught Testing

  • What’s the point of a PHEV with such a ridiculous EV range? Who will care to buy cables, get a utility contract for billing, search for free charging places to get what realistically boils down to 25 km of range?

    • Good points. Perhaps its to meet regulations while keeping the ZEV transition as slow as possible. (cynic in me :D)

      • I think exactly the same. I’m just wondering where will they find customers tgat want a common hybrid with 200 kg of useless ballast.

        It’s real sad, because a phev with some 80 km of real range would be an excellent compromise, IMHO- probably the last possible line of defense of ICEs. But this… is a joke.

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