A MINI plug-in hybrid model is to be launched, featuring a combustion engine and an electric motor, allowing purely electric propulsion for the first time in a regular production MINI.
The next generation MINI Countryman plug-in hybrid is currently a test vehicle. The intelligent energy management system controlling how the combustion engine and electric motor operate together provides a focus on performance over efficiency.
The platform, and powertrain with a 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor, is based on that in the BMW 225e plug-in hybrid. AUTO eDRIVE standard mode permits speeds of up to 50mph, whilst in MAX eDRIVE mode speeds of up to 78mph are possible.
MINI says that with the combined output of both drives, the first MINI hybrid vehicle ‘demonstrates unparalleled acceleration performance when compared with its combustion-only siblings’.
Thanks to the eDrive components, which 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. The intelligent energy management is linked to the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) meaning that traction and drive stability are optimised via the drive system. As soon as there is any risk of drive slip, the second drive unit is activated to provide additional traction when starting off or cornering.
A SAVE BATTERY drive mode option allows the combustion engine to power the car whilst at the same time the high voltage battery can retain charge at a constant level or increase charge via a generator. Extended driving in SAVE BATTERY mode enables enough power generation for purely electric driving later.
Of course, this isn’t the first Electric MINI. Green Car Guide tested the MINI E back in October 2009.