Mini hands make light work
The plug-in electric Mini is about to illuminate the world, writes PAULGOVER
AMINI with some zap hits the road in California next year. It’s the latest in a series of plug-in electric cars being built to satisfy America’s demands for cuts in pollution and fuel use and, like the electric Smart set for Australia in 2010, it should eventually come here.
The battery-powered Mini will be previewed at the Los Angeles Motor Show next month before full-scale sales of up to 500 cars next year.
Details of the plan were revealed exclusively to carsGuide by the worldwide head of the BMW Group, which includes Mini, at the Paris Motor Show.
‘‘We will show the electric Mini at the LA show. We’re doing that first,’’ Ian Robertson says. ‘‘It’s a plug-in. It looks like a Mini, drives like a Mini, but doesn’t sound like a Mini.
‘‘Actually, that’s one of the things we have to work on. Whether it needs to have some sort of noise.’’
Robertson declines to go into details on price or range, and says BMW Group is using the Mini to do research on electric motoring.
‘‘We want to see how practical it is,’’ he says. ‘‘We need to see if you have a charger at home, or at work, or public charging. Right through to the issues of living with it.’’
The electric plan comes as Mini moves quickly on its Crossover Concept from the Paris show. It is clear the all-wheel-drive wagon will make it to production, though there is no timeframe or confirmation of the mechanical details.
But Robertson says the higherriding wagon will give the Mini brand more reach.
‘‘Mini is on the right track,’’ he says. ‘‘The Crossover Concept allows more utilisation. It’s the first fourdoor Mini ever. That’s a big step. It’s not going to be called the name on the car. It will be unique.’’
Mini improvements: a Mini Crossover concept car at the Paris Motor Show, the first four-door in the Mini’s history.