Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see another electric model sort of announced, but it’s also a bit tiring to see that it’s again a super unrealistic concept and the production version won’t even be unveiled for another 2 years. What’s the point? Honestly, that’s not a rhetorical question — what is the point of fluffy press releases and unrealistic images and designs so far out?
Is it to slowly move the auto press in the direction of electrics? Is it to give investors the impression BMW is on the leading edge of innovation? Is it to present a greener and more socially responsible image of the company? Is it just how the auto industry rolls in general? Is it an attempt to tell customers, “Don’t buy a Tesla, we’ll electrify our options ‘soon’ as well?” Is it to bring attention to the MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid?
Anyway, on to the concept…
Yes, cool looking car! Yes, I’d love it if one were on the market right now! Yes, I’d love to have one in my garage! If only…
This car is named “MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT” (yes, all caps), and a production version will be unveiled in 2019 … presuming plans don’t change, as they have after so many many other concepts rolled into an auto show and out again.
This electric concept car will be visible at the IAA Cars 2017 show in Frankfurt in a couple of weeks, starting Saturday, September 16th.
“With its characteristic go-kart feel and powerful electric motor, the MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT is great fun to drive while also being completely suitable for everyday use – and producing zero emissions to boot. That’s how we at MINI envisage electric mobility in tomorrow’s world,” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad.
“The systematic electrification of the brand and product portfolio is a mainstay of the BMW Group’s NUMBER ONE > NEXT strategy. The MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT offers a thrilling preview of the all-electric production vehicle. MINI and electrification make a perfect match,” added Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.
That makes it sound like BMW is betting the house on electric cars. The problem is that the first MINI E rolled out 10 years ago, so it’s unfortunate there isn’t an electric MINI already on the market today. Will I be able to walk into a BMW dealership in 2019 or 2020 and drive away with an electric MINI? If that’s possible, will I have to talk to their special EV guy, assuming he’s not out to lunch, or will all of the staff be well informed and enthusiastic about selling electric cars?
“The MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT is a quintessential MINI – compact, agile, simply the perfect companion for everyday driving. At the same time, it conveys a whole new take on the concept of sportiness,” stated Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. Indeed, it is a striking design that looks far more futuristic and exciting than a conventional MINI (which has its own cute and historical look). But is that just a concept thing? Is the production version going to look anything like this? If not, why waste our time with the yellow highlighting and shiny silver exterior? Well, we’ll just have to wait a couple of years to see.
A press release further explains what is so unique in this MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT’s design:
“As the electric drive unit does not require any cooling air, the radiator grille is closed for superior aerodynamics. An accent bar in Striking Yellow in the grille with an E badge in the same colour produces a powerful contrasting effect, which is echoed by the styling of the daytime running lights in the all-LED headlight assemblies. The front apron’s simulated “air intakes” are also sealed, yet they still include dark louvres that look like cooling fins. …
“Clearly moulded fibreglass add-on parts along the lower edge of the electric MINI concept serve to intensify the stylish MINI proportions. The car’s silhouette is composed of taut, clean-cut surfaces which produce a minimalist impression. Short overhangs and the characteristic MINI stance on the wheels instil the brand’s trademark dynamics. The paint finish is Reflection Silver – a matt liquid metal colour shade.
“The technical appearance of the car’s sides has been softened with a series of material and colour highlights. An eye-catching E badge above the front wheel is another defining feature to highlight the electric power source. Its shiny finish within the otherwise matt exterior paintwork creates different effects depending on how it catches the light. The interplay between matt and high-gloss surfaces within a shared colour scheme results in a modern look. As well as the badge in the radiator grille, the exterior mirror caps also sport MINI E badges. Colour gradients incorporated into both the side skirts and roof using the accent colour, Striking Yellow, create a unique side profile. The roof goes from matt white to high-gloss yellow, while the yellow finish of the side skirts fades at the top until becoming transparent so that it appears to merge into the body colour. The colour transitions give the car a lighter, fresher and more sophisticated presence while the new Striking Yellow shade provides a new take on the classic yellow colour for the electric MINI.”
To further give the concept car a futuristic feel, the car utilized 3D printing for some of the parts. Which ones? It doesn’t really matter, does it? It’s a concept car.
How about technical specs, potential batteries in the production version, autonomous driving features? Nah, no info on that.
A few of the key catchphrases were repeated several times, though, just in case you didn’t get how vague and useless BMW wanted to be about this toy car.
If you’re a regular CleanTechnica reader, you know me well — I’d be enthusiastically shouting from the top of my local coffee shop about how cool this electric car is, how much I’d enjoy driving it in the city or on country roads, and how much it demonstrates a commitment to clean electric transport from BMW. But as I said at the top, it’s just a bit tiring to report little actual information and a lot of fluff to consumers eager for more genuine electric offerings.