Mini Electric Pacesetter points to electric JCW

Say hello to a (slightly) faster electric Mini. The new Formula E safety car is in, and it's a precursor to the pure-electric JCW.

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Scott Collie
Scott Collie
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Wondering what an all-electric Mini performance car might look like? Wonder no longer.

The Mini Electric Pacesetter will be safety car for the 2021 Formula E season, taking over from the hybrid BMW i8 supercar.

Although it’s not a production model, Mini says the Pacesetter hints at what an electric hatch fettled by John Cooper Works could look like.

The 32.6kWh battery pack and 138kW electric motor from the road car have been carried over, but peak torque is up to 280Nm from 270Nm.

With its stripped-back interior the Pacesetter is 130kg lighter than the standard car. That shaves 0.5 seconds from the 100km/h sprint time, dropping it to 7.3 seconds.

The hottest petrol-powered JCW, the JCW GP, can do the same sprint in just 5.1 seconds.

Bigger changes have come on the chassis front, where Mini has fitted three-way adjustable coil overs and firmer control arms.

The track is wider than stock, the brakes have been borrowed from the JCW GP, and the Michelin Pilot Sport rubber is wrapped around a set of forged 18-inch alloy wheels.

Mini last year confirmed it’s working on a high-performance electric hatchback, although details are scarce at the moment.

“With the Mini Electric, we’ve shown how well brand-typical driving enjoyment and electric mobility can be combined,” said Bernd Körber, head of the Mini brand.

“Now it’s time to translate the passion for performance of the John Cooper Works brand to electro mobility. That’s why we’re working to develop concepts for electric John Cooper Works models.”

BMW does have some suitable electric motors in its stable. The rear-mounted motor in the upcoming iX3 SUV makes 210kW and 400Nm, and is good for a 6.8-second run to 100km/h.

That sprint time would be stronger in a smaller, lighter Mini, potentially packing a smaller battery pack than the 80kWh unit in the mid-sized iX3 SUV.

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Scott Collie
Scott Collie
Scott Collie is the News Editor at CarExpert.
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