New Mini Countryman to get plug-in hybrid model

Driving fun, as well as efficiency, promised by Mini's first production plug-in hybrid

Mini has revealed a prototype of its first-ever plug-in hybrid model, to be based on the next-generation Mini Countryman, coming soon.

The camouflaged prototype doesn't reveal anything particularly unique about the new car's styling, which will be an evolution of the current model, but the car will be significant for debuting the firm's first series production electrified model.

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

Mini has of course dabbled with electric drivetrains before, with the Mini-E - a lease-only vehicle that was used to study how drivers use electric vehicles ahead of the launch of BMW's i brand.

As a plug-in hybrid the new electrified Countryman won't be an electric-only model, but will allow Mini drivers to travel an as-yet unspecified distance on electric power alone.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

It will also allow drivers to travel relatively high speeds on electric power, according to head of Mini series management, Peter Wolf. In the standard Auto eDrive mode speeds of up to 50mph will be possible, while a Max eDrive mode will allow electric travel up to 78mph.

It's unlikely the car will be able to travel for long at this speed before the combustion engine (likely Mini's existing turbocharged, 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit) kicks in - and heavier uses of the throttle pedal will also see the engine start up, just as it does in plug-in hybrids from BMW.

Performance should be strong though - Mini describes it as 'unparalleled acceleration performance when compared with its combustion-only siblings'.

Wolf says drivers will get a feel for the best technique after a short time, but the rest of the experience should differ little from any other automatic-transmission Mini product.

Beyond the start/stop switch glowing yellow rather than red, and the tachometer being replaced with a power display, the cabin and controls should be much as any other modern Mini. A Save Battery mode can be used to retain or build charge in the battery pack ready for city driving.

Mini is keen to stress that the car's handling won't be affected, and may even be improved in the plug-in model. With the car's battery positioned low in the chassis and towards the rear of the car, both weight distribution and the car's centre of gravity should be improved.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The new car is also all-wheel drive, with electric power being sent to the rear wheels, and combustion power to the front axle. The new plug-in model, along with more conventionally-fueled Mini Countryman versions, should go on sale next year.

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/aston-martin/dbx-suv/15413/aston-martin-dbx-prototype-review-the-best-suv-yet
Aston Martin DBX SUV

Aston Martin DBX prototype review

15 Jan 2020
Visit/tesla/roadster/20362/2020-tesla-roadster-250mph-and-0-60-in-19-seconds
Tesla Roadster convertible

2020 Tesla Roadster – 250mph and 0-60 in 1.9 seconds

9 Jan 2020
Visit/electric-cars/20434/rimac-ctwo-undergoes-rigorous-testing-ahead-of-production-start
electric cars

Rimac C_Two undergoes rigorous testing ahead of production start

17 Dec 2019
Visit/polestar/22796/polestar-1-review-can-it-compete-with-pure-combustion-counterparts
Polestar 1

Polestar 1 review

25 Nov 2019
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/auctions/202147/ps6million-lancia-collection-of-dreams-to-go-under-the-hammer
auctions

£6million Lancia collection of dreams to go under the hammer

World Rally-winning Group A Integrale stars in world’s best collection of racing Lancias
24 Jan 2020
Visit/seat/leon-cupra/202143/seat-leon-cupra-r-st-abt-review-spicy-spanish-dish-gets-even-more-sizzle
SEAT Leon Cupra

SEAT Leon Cupra R ST Abt review

50 horsepower boost puts extra pep in the Leon Cupra’s already athletic step
23 Jan 2020
Visit/dodge/202135/police-spec-dodge-charger-given-1500bhp-widebody-kit-and-awd
Dodge

Dodge Charger given 1500bhp, widebody kit and AWD 

US-based Speedkore Performance works its magic for one-off creation
22 Jan 2020
Visit/hyundai/201819/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-nurburgring
Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Nurburgring

We brought the Hyundai i30 Fastback back to its spiritual home in Germany's Eifel mountains, where there is a racing track you might well have heard o…
7 Oct 2019