Mini has officially detailed plans to electrify its John Cooper Works performance sub-brand – and revealed the first prototype it’s working on.
Internally dubbed the ‘GPE’, the prototype uses the racy bodywork of the recently launched JCW GP and is likely to have a similar chassis set-up. However, a lack of exhaust, a blanked-off front grille and a visible badge similar to that of the Mini Electric make it clear that this new car is battery-propelled.
“We’re working hard to develop concepts for John Cooper Works models with electric drive,” said Mini brand boss Bernd Körber. “Meanwhile, John Cooper Works models with conventional combustion engines will continue to have an important role to play in addressing the wishes and needs of our motorsport enthusiasts around the world.”
No technical details of electric JCW Minis have been outlined, but the firm says the project will rely on “future Mini vehicle architectures”, suggesting such a model is some way from being launched. However, expect performance to be comparable to – if not better than – the 302bhp JCW GP and the focus to be on offering a hardcore driving experience.
Electrifying JCW was first mentioned during the confirmation of plans to expand and reposition Mini’s line-up.
Key to this are two new models to be built in China as part of a joint venture with Great Wall Motors: an electric crossover EV tipped to revive the Paceman name; and a second generation of the Mini Electric, built on a separate platform from the British-made petrol model. The Countryman will also grow in size and be twinned with the next-generation BMW X1.