NEW CHAPTER FOR MINI: Mini says it's close to introducing a plug-in hybrid model to its line-up. Image: Supplied
Munich - Mini, the brand that pioneered the supermini, said they will shortly introduce a plug-in hybrid model.
Mini says the development process for this car has almost been completed and uses a combustion engine and an electric motor enabling purely electric propulsion.
The Anglo-Germanic brand says this model will retain the go-kart feeling of many of the firm's models.
The charging socket for the high-voltage battery is discreetly integrated in the left Side Scuttle. The start/stop button in the centre of the dashboard glows yellow instead of red. As usual, you simply press the button to start the car – this vehicle, however, remains silent as the hybrid model always starts in electric mode.
The rpm counter in the instrument cluster on the steering column has been replaced with a power display. Keeping a close eye on this display is particularly worthwhile for the first few kilometres as it informs the driver about the electric motor’s power reserves before the combustion engine fires up.
Mini says the engine starts varies depending upon on the vehicle’s speed and the intensity with which the driver operate the accelerator pedal.
A Mini first: Sebastian Mackensen left and Peter Wolf inspect the new plug-in hybrid model.
The hybrid model's torque is available right from standstill. The high-voltage battery under the rear seats provides power for long-lasting electric driving.
Drive modes include: Auto eDRIVE is the standard mode permits speeds of up to 80km/h, whilst in MAX eDRIVE mode speeds of up to 125km/h are possible.
Mini says: The chassis and suspension have not changed from the conventionally driven model variants.
The eDrive components are positioned very low down at the rear, the car’s centre of gravity is lowered and the weight is evenly balanced between the front and rear axle.
The electric motor transmits its power to the rear wheels, the combustion engine to the front wheels. Since the intelligent energy management is linked to the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), traction and drive stability are optimised via the drive system.
A third mode, activated via the eDrive toggle switch is called 'save battery'. In this mode, the combustion engine powers the car whilst at the same time, the high voltage battery can retain charge at a constant level or indeed increase charge via a generator.
Extended driving in 'save battery' mode enables enough power generation for purely electric driving later.