MINI has unveiled a fully electric version of its Convertible model in order to demonstrate "how the path to an all-electric premium brand could continue and also electrify classic sporty open-air driving in the future."
Sadly though, the electric MINI Convertible isn't a production model and will probably remain a one-off, being displayed for the first time at an enthusiasts' event in the United States.
Taking the bodyshell of a standard Cooper S convertible (and not losing any interior or boot space in the process), MINI mated it with the electric powertrain from the three-door MINI Electric Hatch. The special, like the electric Hatch, develops 184hp and can dash from 0-100km/h in 7.7 seconds, with range on the WLTP test cycle of up to 230km.
While the outward looks are still those of the petrol-powered convertible on which it's based, the electrified cabriolet does apply some of the MINI Electric's hallmark visual touches such as contrasting yellow door mirrors and unusual wheels designed to resemble a three-pin plug socket.
The textile soft top (also fully electric) can be opened and closed within 18 seconds at speeds of up to 30km/h. There's the option too of leaving it partially open as a large sunroof.
It appears unlikely that an electric version of this generation of MINI Convertible will make series production and go on sale. A new, smaller version of the MINI Hatch has been spotted testing and is due to go on sale in 2023, with BMW having confirmed that there'll also be a convertible version from around 2025. The next-gen MINI Hatch will also feature an electric powertrain in the line-up, but it won't be the same one that's in the current MINI Electric; reports suggested that it'll instead be built in China on a new EV platform jointly developed by MINI's owner, BMW and the Chinese car-maker Great Wall.
With the MINI Hatch shrinking in size and the Countryman crossover due to grow in the coming years to compete with the likes of the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, MINI plans to launch a fully electric compact crossover in 2023 to fill the gap, the design of which will be prefigured with the unveiling of a new concept car later this month. The concept will also highlight a new design direction for MINI, eschewing some of the brand's most recognisable features such as chrome trim in favour of cleaner, less fussy designs.
MINI plans that by 2027 a full half of its models will be electric.