Our spy photographers have caught images of a groundbreaking new all-electric Mini being tested for the first time – and this is no concept car.

Instead the Mini EV is a top-secret project that BMW has been quietly developing in Oxford and Munich. Autocar understands from well-placed BMW insiders that the electric Mini will make a surprise debut at the LA motor show next month, going on sale in limited numbers shortly afterwards.

The electric Mini isn’t intended to be a global product. Initially it is likely to be piloted in US cities where recharging infrastructure is already available, although a small batch of the cars could be offered to selected customers in London.

>>See more spy shots of the new all-electric Mini Cooper

Technical details are scarce, but its interior will have to be dramatically altered to fit a battery pack – possibly even losing the rear seats. Using modern lithium-ion batteries, the electric Mini is expected to have a range of between 100 and 135 miles after a full recharge.

Seamless drive – as we’ve sampled in other modern electric cars – should also make this Mini a spirited performer off the line. We expect a 0-60mph time below nine seconds.

We’ll be able to bring you more detail on the electric Mini later this week.