It still looks like a Mini, but will it still handle like one?
2019 will be a milestone year for Mini, as this is when the automaker will launch its first ever fully electric model based on the standard three-door hatchback. First previewed by the Mini Electric Concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show, it will be the first of 12 new EVs that BMW is planning to unleash by 2025. Production of the Mini EV will initially take place at Mini's existing UK plant in Oxford, before eventually moving to China.
While Mini recently teased the production version ahead of its official reveal, our spies have sent us the most revealing photos yet of the Mini Electric prototype undergoing testing. Unsurprisingly, the Mini Electric looks a lot like its gasoline-powered sibling. The grille is practically closed off since the EV obviously won't need the same cooling as a combustion-powered car, but other than that you would be hard pressed to tell the Mini Electric apart from the regular model - and that's a good thing if Mini wants the EV to sell.
That said, the final production model will be further distinguished by a unique set of wheels, though the prototype is still riding on a standard set. The headlights and taillights will also change by the time the production model rolls out to reflect the changes made to the facelifted gasoline-based model.
Inside, the similarities between the Mini Electric and the standard model continue, with a new digital driver's display replacing the standard car's gauge cluster representing the most noticeable change applied to the cabin.
Mini is remaining tight-lipped about technical specifications, but the electric hatchback will most likely share the same powertrain as the updated BMW i3, so we can expect up to 184 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque. The i3 has a pure electric range of 124 miles without an extender, but the smaller Mini Electric should hopefully beat that figure when it goes on sale next year as EV technology continues to evolve. If it can retain the gasoline-powered car's playful handling, the Mini Electric has the potential to be one of the most enjoyable EVs to drive on the market.