While modern Minis have stretched in dimensions and weight with each successive generation, the unveiling of the Rocketman concept in 2011 showed that Mini was aware of the need to return to what the original Alec Issigonis-designed icon was intended to be: a diminutive car ideal for urban environments.
First unveiled at the 2011 Geneva International Motor Show, the Mini Rocketman concept hinted at a truly mini-sized car from Mini and within weeks of the reveal there was already talk of production. However, almost as quickly, the production plans were canned due to a lack of a suitable partner.
Fast forward to today and an agreement made with Great Wall Motors in 2018 to build electric cars in China, where costs are lower than Mini's traditional home of the United Kingdom, means the Rocketman is once again a possibility. Autocar reported on Monday that prototypes are already testing, and that a revival of the Minor name is likely.
The modern Minor will reportedly measure 138 inches in length (the current Hardtop is 152 inches long) and hit the market around late 2022, and because of a dedicated electric-vehicle platform cabin space should rival that of a larger internal-combustion car. The Minor will target a next-generation Smart Fortwo which is also being developed in China, in a partnership between Daimler and Geely.
MINI Rocketman Concept
Autocar estimates the Minor will have a single electric motor good for 135 hp, and a 35-kilowatt-hour battery capable of delivering over 150 miles of range. Those specs are similar to what buyers get in the cutesy Honda E sold overseas.
Beyond the Minor, Mini is expected to launch an electric John Cooper Works Hardtop previewed by the recently revealed Pacesetter Formula E safety car. We'll then see the full lineup redesigned with many models being offered with the choice of internal-combustion or battery-electric power.
There will also be two additional newcomers. One will be a dedicated electric crossover similar in size to the Countryman, primarily for China, and the other will be crossover bigger than the Countryman, primarily for North America. The latter could potentially see a revival of the Traveller name.
Beyond 2030, Mini's full lineup will be pure electric. The automaker confirmed in March that it will launch its last car equipped with an internal-combustion engine in 2025.