Mini hybrid: Go-kart feel, hybrid thrill
Mini hybrid on the road
The first Mini hybrid model has undergone testing in Europe, signalling a new phase for the German-owned British carmaker.
Head of Mini brand management Sebastian Mackensen and head of Mini series management Peter Wolf say the hybrid model retains the model’s go-kart feeling with the thrill of a hybrid.
"With this model we want to convince Mini customers of the benefits of hybrid drive” says Mackensen, “and impress everyone who already has hybrid driving experience with Mini’s unique go-kart driving feel.”
The company says the key to achieving this lies in intelligent energy management used to control how the combustion engine and electric motor operate together. For this reason, the first Mini plug-in hybrid model is not solely focused on efficiency, but uncompromising in pursuit of driving fun.
BMW New Zealand says it is not yet known when the hybrid will be available in this country, or what specifications will be available.
The Mini hybrid will not look distinctly different from other models, with the charging socket for the high-voltage battery in the left side scuttle of the Mini.
The start/stop button in the dashboard centre glows yellow instead of red. Pressing the button starts the car — but this vehicle remains silent as the hybrid model always starts in electric mode.
A power display replaces the rpm counter on the steering column’s instrument cluster.
The hybrid Mini makes full use of the electric motor’s entire torque, which is available right from standstill, allowing for catapult-like acceleration.
Even after leaving the city, this vehicle maintains zero-tailpipe emissions at motorway speeds. The high-voltage battery under the rear seats provides power for long-lasting electric driving. Auto eDrive standard mode permits speeds of up to 80km/h; in Max eDrive mode 125 km/h is possible. “In a hybrid Mini model, driving electrically must also be exhilarating,” says Mackensen.
BMW Group New Zealand spokesman Paul Sherley says a Mini hybrid would fit with the company’s aim of promoting and increasing the number of electric vehicles on our roads.
“We already have an extensive range of both plug-in hybrid iPerformance and BMW i models in the market and the opportunity for Mini to offer plug-in hybrid technology in the range locally further supports our position towards sustainable mobility.”