After all these years of not holding my breath, BMW finally schedules an all electric BEV Mini Cooper for production. Is this where I’m supposed to shoot myself?
-After 10 years, yes 10 years folks, was anyone still counting? of relentless teasing and wondering, an electric Mini is coming to market next year.
-Then in typical VW Bus fashion with their countless number of Bus concepts and prototypes FOR DECADES I LOST COUNT, that you really do want to shoot yourself, BMW teases us with 3 electric concepts, the first two are 10 years apart!
-In 2008 BMW’s first EV concept was a Mini that of course never made it to production. The glamorous i3 took its place.
-Then BMW leaves us hanging for 10 years, 10 years without a single concept until last year. This is ironically where I can forgive them unlike VW.
-They just released concept #3 and the production car THEY SAY is coming next and soon.
Why SO Long?
"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." - Abraham Lincoln
Yesterday I thought FCA Chrysler was bad bringing electrics to market, I almost forgot about Mini. Why do car companies do this? Can someone please explain? I’ve always had a profound respect and passion for the industry since I was a child, but I could never understand why they do certain things the way they do. Why does it take them so long to bring a mainstream electric vehicle to production? And why so many concepts and prototypes when usually the first one is great, and after Concept #3 or whatever, at that point it doesn’t make a damn difference?
10 Years is too Long!
For the past 10 years, BMW has been tooling around with the Mini brand to find what I guess to them is the perfect Mini electric car. In that time Tesla Motors became a start up, filed their corporate papers, established their corporate offices, switched CEOs and board members, searched for a factory, took bids from suppliers, started with the Model S to make prototypes and testers, and tooled the factory to put the Model S, into production. Rinse, repeat with the Model X, AND the Model 3. BMW could have had all kinds of electric Minis taking to the roads by now while Tesla was doing their thing, thousands of people could have been having fun in their tiny electric Minis, the little car that could. But instead an electric Mini is still something that’s an abstract, that you only see in the media when another concept is released. It seems like a waste for me to wonder why they do this.
Is it about Protecting the Brand?
I suspect it might be about protecting their brand image for some reason. These car companies have invested billions in electrics, but their top brass are still unsure of they’ll fly with customers. They’re still scared! So I notice some of the car companies like to make their electrics a sub-brand when they debut, so I guess if the electrics tank which we all know at this stage they won’t, there’s just too much invested, that they can pull the plug and separate from the main brand. I noticed that Toyota did that with the Prius line roll-out a few years back to make it a sub-brand, Land Rover is doing this now with Road Rover, same with Buick in China with Velite, Mercedes said there will be no electric S Class but rather an electric sister variant in a range of EQ cars, and VW is going to do this with the all electric ID line with the Hatch, Bus, and Beetle 4. All electric sub-brands. But not Mini. So is this about them being careful with electrics because the brand rep is at stake? Is this why BMW took their time with Mini as a prototyper and tester, to put the i3 into production under the main house brand? You see, it doesn’t make sense.
Was it About the Batteries?
Maybe it was about the batteries, they wanted to wait until the technology improved. But if that was the case why is BMW using Mini as a prototyper and tester to give it all to i3 for ten years? That was what the whole Mini-E Program was about back in 2009, and the customers who were lucky to get an e-Mini only had it for about 6 months at a pop. You see? Besides, if the Chevy Volt had only 35 miles of charge as a 2009 PHEV, I really don’t think BEV Mini peeps would’ve mind a 100 mile range at first. But that’s neither here nor there.
The Production Details
Well anyway, this was supposed to be, I guess, good news, so I’ll put on a happy face to make it that way: In typical BMW pre-launch fashion they are tight lipped about details on the car, but the Mini-E BEV electric Mini Cooper is FINALLY scheduled for production November 2019. The Mini-E is based on the 3 door Mini-3 that you’ll plug in, and probably will have a front motor config. The car will have signature identifiers like a special grill denoting its electric source, but practical in that you can vent for cooling. It also has these really cool mag wheels that only the E version will have. A Chinese only version in collab with Great Wall Motors is also a go. BMW be smart for yourselves: I’d also put that Classic Mini Cooper Electric Prototype that looks like the original car but designed and configured for electrical engineering, into production as well. But that’s me.
This Should Have Been Here Already
You folks know me by now, so here I go: the Mini-E 2019 car should’ve already been here for at least 10 years. We should have already been working through the 2nd or 3rd generation. In fact it should have been one of the first production electrics out on the road, right behind the Tesla Model S on the other end of the electric segment, to define what a little urban electric street car is, while the Model S competes with S Class to define what an electric version of a flagship halo sedan or saloon car should be. In the case of the Mini, that was left to either the Fiat 500e or the SmartforTwo Electric, which really, is unfair, as those were compliance cars, jeez. The Mini should be Queen of the Tiny Electrics on her own. She should have already had the title, but I hope it’s not too late for her to earn it now.
To harken President Lincoln: BMW had plenty of time to sharpen their axe while refining their product. 10 years, no excuses. They better be careful sharpening axes, because if there’s any dull spot on the blade they missed, they’ll strike with a dud.
What do you think of the Mini-E and the electric Mini Cooper Classic? Should they go production or stay proto? Are you even a fan of Mini because I see how some are turned off to the car? Let us know in the comments section below.