While Daimler’s Smart brand is transitioning to all-electric propulsion, BMW’s Mini has stuck resolutely with internal combustion. But it’s working on an electric vehicle of its own, and our sneaky shutterbugs have caught the prototype (both inside and out) undergoing testing out in the wild.
As fans of the retro-flavored Anglo-Saxon brand will recall, Mini first deployed an electric vehicle called the Mini E back in 2008. The battery-powered hatchback underwent a pilot program in several countries around the world over the following couple of years, but was then discontinued.
Fast forward to last year when Mini revealed a new Electric concept, this time with a more futuristic take on the brand’s signature old-school styling. Now it’s apparently gearing it up for production.
So how do we know this prototype is an EV? Well, for starters, it says “Electric Test Vehicle” in little labels all over it. The prototype was also spied plugged in to the mains in a dedicated EV charging/parking spot. And the grille is all covered up, suggesting that there’s no internal-combustion engine inside. So unlike the Countryman PHEV, this prototype clearly isn’t a hybrid.
Aside from the yellow swirly camo, the four-spoke wheels, and all the wires running inside the cabin, it looks pretty much like any other two/three-door Mini Hatch. We don’t know how much its electric powertrain and batteries will offer. For what it’s worth, the previous Mini E from the last decade boasted about 200 horsepower and a 35-kWh battery pack to give it an eight-second 0-62 time and a 100-mile range. Given how rapidly electric propulsion has progressed in the years since, we’d expect the new model to offer much more.