MINI is teasing its new plug-in hybrid model before it debuts, likely sometime next year.
According to the company, this car is the start of a new phase for MINI that will feature a range of hybrid and electric vehicles. Based on the teaser photo released, the plug-in hybrid model will be a version of the Countryman, though MINI says that it will not be easily recognizable as a hybrid model.
To keep its nature incognito, the charging port will be hidden while the interior will feature some small changes, like a yellow stop/start button rather than a red one and a power display instead of a tachometer.
Exact specifications for the powerplant were not revealed, though some details on how the plug-in hybrid will operate were divulged. A number of drive modes will tailor the car’s power delivery, for example, Auto eDrive mode will allow for all-electric speeds up to 80 km/h (49 mph) while Max eDrive will allow top all-electric speeds of 125 km/h (77 mph).
“In a hybrid MINI model, driving electrically must also be an exhilarating experience. This means that entirely electric driving is not limited to speeds of 30 or 40 km/h, but to speeds well beyond city traffic pace,” said Head of MINI brand management Sebastian Mackensen.
When it comes to handling, the MINI benefits from having a low center of gravity thanks to heavy hybrid components which are nestled beneath the floor of the vehicle. The other benefit of the hybrid setup is that the front wheels will be powered by the combustion engine while the rear wheels will be powered by the electric motor, allowing the stability control system to optimize traction by being able to send different amounts of power to each wheel.
“As soon as there is any risk of drive slip, the second drive unit is activated to provide additional traction when starting off or ensuring a high level of steering precision when cornering,” said head of MINI series management Peter Wolf.
The redesigned MINI Countryman is expected to debut at the upcoming L.A. Auto Show in November, with the plug-in model coming sometime after that.
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