The Mini Cooper has captured quite a fan base since its re-introduction in 2001 and with talks of bringing out an all wheel drive version, its popularity will only increase. Another possibility on the Mini's horizon is an all-electric version that could see production in less than 2 years.
The E-Mini, as some of the designers have started calling it, will rely on the latest Lithium-Ion Battery technology to provide ample charge for city driving. 204 horsepower and 162 lb/ft of torque are provided by a high output electric motor that will turn the front wheels through a mono-stage helical gearbox.
To charge the electric mini, a charging port will replace the normal fuel cap and inside will be a specially designed electrical socket. A complete charge from a fully depleted battery will take about eight hours and a regenerative braking system will be installed on the E-Mini to help recapture some energy. The range has been listed at about 150 miles per charge while the top speed has been limited to 95 miles per hour.
The E-Mini weights in at just fewer than 3230lbs, with 575lbs coming from the battery pack alone. Even with a semi-hefty curb weight, BMW is saying the MINI can reach 62mph in around 8.2 seconds. The amount of weight added was no issue, but the fact that it is not even distributed is another story.
To handle the uneven weighting, the standard suspension system was removed and a new suspension system was pieced together. After a few rounds of trial and error, engineers are now confident that the E-Mini can easily hold its own against its internal combustion counterpart.
The whole project is still being listed as a test, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it will never make it into production. The E-Mini has already been tested and passed the current crash test ratings and safety requirements needed to enter the States. A prototype will be on display at the upcoming Los Angeles Motor Show.