Mini will mimic Tesla's strategy of playing up the performance aspect of electric powertrains when it launches its first volume EV this year in the form of an electric Hardtop.
As a result, the car will arrive as a Cooper S E Hardtop, Mini confirmed on Monday. The same designation is used for the plug-in hybrid version of the Countryman and positions the electric Hardtop as a hot hatch as opposed to an eco-friendly model.
We know from our spy shots of prototypes there won't be much to distinguish the electric Hardtop from its internal-combustion siblings. Subtle differences will include a sealed grille and additional accent lighting, and naturally there won't be any exhaust pipes.
Mini remains quiet on specs, which is smart considering the pace at which the technology is changing. However, we can expect the powertrain of the BMW i3s to be adopted, albeit with the electric motor positioned at the front axle in the Mini instead of at the rear like in the BMW.
2020 Mini Cooper S E Hardtop spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
The i3s motor is good for 184 horsepower, which is close to the 189 hp generated by the gasoline-powered Cooper S Hardtop's 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4. Of course, the electric motor should provide plenty of low-end torque too.
Range meanwhile is expected to be 200 miles or more. The i3s with a 42.2-kilowatt-hour battery is good for an EPA-rated 153 miles.
Look for the electric Hardtop to reach showrooms toward the end of the year as a 2020 model, and next year Mini cans can look forward to a new John Cooper Works GP Hardtop, which Mini bills as its fastest production car yet.
In other news, Mini has named Bernd Koerber as its new chief. It’s a return to the brand for Bernd, who worked at Mini when he first joined the BMW Group in 2003. He replaced Sebastian Mackensen who in late 2018 took responsibility for BMW Group sales in Germany.