Going electric – and with only two wheels – takes the MINI urban transport idea in a new direction…but is it really all that different?
Back in early October we reported on the MINI scooter concept. More word and a more concrete design have leaked out since. The headlights, the tail lights, the iconic MINI badge, heck, even the big central speedometer, are all present on the new MINI Scooter E Concept.
Just when you thought there were no other brand extension places to go, MINI comes up with another one: two-wheeled electric transport that is still fun to drive. And with these new design concepts, the "concept" seems to be getting closer to reality.
Powered by an electric motor integrated into the rear wheel, its lithium-ion battery can be recharged at any conventional power socket. You simply pop the lid where the gas tank would be and pull out a retractable cord not unlike the one in your vacuum cleaner. Here’s how they’re selling it (or defending it, take your pick) in their official press release:
“Once again, this study by the MINI design team has furnished evidence of a special strength exhibited by the brand: the ability to identify new challenges for mobility in major urban areas at an early stage and to meet those needs with innovative vehicle concepts. 51 years ago, the world’s first concept for a small car focused consistently on efficient use of space and driving fun to create the platform for the classic MINI. The design principles applied to the brand’s forebear all those years ago define the segment for small cars and compacts to this day. As the world’s first premium small car, the MINI has been an unparalleled success following the relaunch of the brand in 2001. More than 1.7 million vehicles have been sold worldwide, providing impressive testimony to the potential even in this segment for generating a desire to embrace a successful combination of driving fun, quality, striking design and individual style.”
More than meets the eye:
Of course, this being a MINI concept, the designers had to add more compelling features than a mere MINI look, so they added a smartphone adapter inside the round instrument panel that operates simultaneously as the vehicle key, display and central control unit. You get on, dock your smartphone and you’re good to go. Underway, your smartphone can be used as a nav system, music player or telephone, as a wireless Bluetooth mic and headphones are integrated into your official MINI helmet. It’s social, too, as your nav system will actually tell you where other MINI scooters are currently operating, so you can hook-up with your friends (or soon-to-be-friends) and bang around town together. Call it that "sense of community" thing.
No word yet on when – or if – MINI will roll out the concept, but it’s nice to know those clever folks over at BMW are still coming up with new ideas.
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