And is turning to BMW for help.
We've known for a while now that an all-electric Mini hatchback was in the works. Set to be based on 2017's Mini Electric concept, we've heard through various sources the production version will take many of the concept's styling cues but, above all, it won't be mistaken for anything other than a Mini Cooper.
According to Autocar, it'll be called the Cooper S E and the 'S' is very important. Why? Because this EV will also be a hot hatchback, thus making it the world's first fully electrified hot hatch. Mini will launch it as part of its 60th-anniversary celebrations and in order to for it to have the necessary performance capabilities, Mini is looking to parent company BMW for help.
And, lo and behold, BMW just so happens to have the ideal powertrain available: the i3 S's 181 hp electric motor. The current Cooper S produces 189 hp from its turbo 2.0-liter, so the outputs are nearly the same. To help save costs, Mini managed to modify its existing three-door hatchback's platform, codenamed UKL1, for electric car duty, though it wasn't originally designed for this purpose. Developing a new platform from scratch for a single model didn't make financial sense and we're told the i3's platform wouldn't work either for a number of engineering reasons.
Mini is aware that the batteries will make the Cooper S E heavy, but the added weight will be offset by instant torque and lack of gears. Translation: expect similar acceleration times to those of the Cooper S. Its lithium-ion battery pack, also directly from the i3, will also provide a range of up to 200 miles.
Above all, think of the Cooper S E as a model aimed at Mini brand purists, not eco-conscious tree huggers. You see, when EVs are properly tuned and engineered, they can provide performance-hungry drivers faster acceleration responses and greater control of each individual wheel. Electric vehicles could be ideal for Mini considering its purist driving roots. Expect to see the Mini Cooper S E hot hatch revealed sometime in the second half of this year, most likely at Frankfurt this September.