Blink and you might miss the changes, but this is the newest Mini.
The latest images of the new Mini Cooper EV reveal it will feature an evolutionary exterior design atop its all-new underpinnings, as has been the norm for the brand under BMW ownership.
Oversized, round headlights feature up front, and the closed-over grille has a shape not too dissimilar to that of the current petrol-powered model.
The frameless-effect windows allow for a classic Mini floating roof, while the upright rear won’t offend anyone who’s spent time with the current car. The new tail lights are the biggest change, with a pinched shape and prominent Union Jack detailing.
As previously detailed, the electric Mini Cooper will be built by Great Wall Motors in China, and will be underpinned by a new electric car platform dubbed Spotlight EV.
The unrelated combustion-powered Mini Cooper will continue to be built in Oxford in the UK. An updated version of the car currently on sale is also expected to launch in 2024.
The electric Cooper reportedly has a wider track, shorter front overhang, larger wheels and longer wheelbase than the current three-door Mini Hatch, though it will remain 3.8m long.
The entry-level E variant will reportedly offer a 40kWh battery pack and a 135kW electric motor, whereas the SE will receive a larger 54kWh unit and a 160kW electric motor, with range of up to 386km.
That’s a big jump from the 233km figure of the current car, which also features a 135kW/270Nm electric motor and a 32.6kWh battery.
There are reportedly no plans for a dual-motor all-wheel drive variant, though a hot JCW version is coming.
It’ll reportedly arrive in mid-2025 with the larger 54kWh battery and potentially a more powerful electric motor with 186kW of power, and serve as a rival for the Abarth 500e and the Alpine version of the Renault 5.
Mini has developed a “soundtrack” for the next-generation EV, but Mini head Stefanie Wurst recently told Autocar it won’t use a Hans Zimmer-composed soundtrack as in recent BMW EVs. It’ll change based on the drive mode.
The company has also reportedly developed a new motor controller with the traction control system built in, said to improve handling.
While the electric Cooper’s exterior styling may be evolutionary, previous spied prototypes have shown the interior will see a more dramatic change.
There will be no instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, while the circular display in the centre stack will incorporate an edge-to-edge OLED display.
Mini is also reportedly focusing on physical switchgear, incorporating an actual ignition key even on electric models, and will employ “funky” projections of information like time and speed on the dashboard for passengers.
The last new Mini model with an internal-combustion engine will be released in 2025, and Mini says 50 per cent of its sales will be all-electric by 2027. Come 2030, every single Mini will be electric.