Although electric power is well-suited to an "urban car brand", squeezing batteries into its vehicles is proving difficult

Mini is "the most urban car brand” but also one of the hardest to switch to full electric power due to the size of its vehicles, according to boss Peter Schwarzenbauer.

Highlighting the upcoming Mini E, which will be built in Oxford from 2019, and the alternative version of the vehicle, which will be produced in co-operation with car maker Great Wall in China, Schwarzenbauer, said: “Electrifying Mini is quite a challenge, chiefly because of the small footprint of the cars.

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It does not leave much room for batteries.

“But if you look at the role of electrification in the urban environment and the desire to be local emissions-free, there is no other brand with the credentials of Mini. It should be a natural fit, and that is the direction we’re moving towards for the future.

“The success of the plug-in hybrid Countryman shows what can be achieved, and the full electric Mini that is coming will show another step.”

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Schwarzenbauer also highlighted that the joint venture to build electric Minis in China – the first time Minis have been made outside of Europe – was necessary in order to qualify for the country’s New EnergyVehicles regulations, which require a proportion of the car’s parts to be sourced and manufactured there.  

The BMW i3 does not qualify.The BMW Group is known to be working on solid-state batteries in partnership with Toyota, with a sale date mooted to be around 2025. Both smaller and more powerful thantoday’s batteries, they could potentially pave the way for a range of fully electric Minis.

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Comments
21

14 June 2018

 Surely by then someone will have come up with higher density smaller Batteries...?

Peter Cavellini.

14 June 2018
Peter Cavellini wrote:

 Surely by then someone will have come up with higher density smaller Batteries...?

They have, batteries are improving in this direction all the time

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

14 June 2018

That's one of the problems of not designing an EV from the ground-up.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

14 June 2018
xxxx wrote:

That's one of the problems of not designing an EV from the ground-up.

You beat me to the same thing.

Hyundai Kona isn't big next to current Minis but will take up to 64kw battery, the forthcoming Honda EV is really small and so on.

EV's are inevitable yet many manufacturers are dragging their feet trying to bodge existing cars as if waiting for the EV fad to pass and go away or something. It of course won't so now is the time to develop suitable chassis from scratch.

14 June 2018

"Schwarzenbauer also highlighted that the joint venture to build electric Minis in China – the first time Minis have been made outside of Europe – was necessary in order to qualify for the country’s New EnergyVehicles regulations, which require a proportion of the car’s parts to be sourced and manufactured there."

After BREXIT we can tell BMW that they will have to do a joint venture with a UK car company if they want to sell their cars here.BMW accept that for the Chinese market so they shouldn't have a problem accepting it for the UK market too.

14 June 2018
max1e6 wrote:

 

After BREXIT we can tell BMW that they will have to do a joint venture with a UK car company if they want to sell their cars here.BMW accept that for the Chinese market so they shouldn't have a problem accepting it for the UK market too.

Lol, the UK market is teeny tiny compared to China, it wouldnt be worth the money, this is an unrealistic Brexiteer idea.

XXXX just went POP.

14 June 2018

BMW must be pretty stupid if they can't fit batteries into that car. No wonder their engines always seem to be catastrophically failing.

14 June 2018

It's only a problem because it means adapting an existing design. The Renault Zoe shows that it is perfectly possible to have a small, practical EV with a large battery capacity, but modifying an existing car will always be a compromise. I don't really see the need to replicate older designs with electric motors, what's wrong with being bold and building more models like the i3, the Zoe, the Leaf which take advantage of compact electric motors and heavy batteries to lower the centre of gravity? 

If only car buyers weren't such a conservative lot resisting any change...

14 June 2018

I am waiting for BMW to make their threats again about not building the Mini E in the UK after BREXIT.

It doesn't matter.

The Mini E will be a commercial failure because its energy consumption will be too high. Once electric cars are popular, electricity prices will skyrocket and many electric cars will suddenly become too expensive to run.

14 June 2018
There are two dodgey statements in there.

1) energy consumption too high, why? I have a 2 tonne EV that does the equivalent of 140 mpg so how would a much smaller car be worse??

2) Once electric cars are popular, electricity prices will skyrocket

100 miles a week is around 30kwh in an EV. Or about £4.50 at current domestic prices. It's got a long long way to go before it catches up with the price of petrol of £19 A petrol car which will need about 145kwh to cover the same distance. So.. price rises in electricity are going to affect you more than 4 times less that price rises in petrol (145/30)

If it still gets too expensive, put solar panels on your roof. And get your miles from the sun.

Engineer

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Our Verdict

Mini Cooper S

Now in its third generation, we find out if the bigger, cleverer and more mature Mini can still entertain like it predecessors did

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week