Update: ‘Platform & Specifications’ section updated with ‘A more driver’s car’ section.
The iconic MINI Hatch will enter its fifth generation for MY2024 next year. Preparations for the lifecycle makeover are on, with MINI having revealed the first details and allowed select journalists to travel in the prototypes. The line-up will include a 2024 MINI Electric (2024 MINI Cooper SE), the second generation of the MINI Cooper Electric.
The next-gen MINI Electric (codename: MINI J01), like its predecessor that’s currently on sale in the U.S., is sticking with the 2-door hatchback format. MINI has released pictures and videos of a camouflaged prototype, and the spy shots hint that the car has received a few revisions from previous iterations, one of which was leaked from China.
The 2024 MINI Electric will maintain its much-loved charm, as well as the European street-friendly dimensions. Key changes at the front will include newly designed circular headlamps, a new octagonal grille, and a newly designed hood that has sharp crease lines. The hood scoop on the current model is simply for aesthetic purposes, and the next-gen model will likely include the same for a similar effect. The windscreen seems to have been brought forward for improved aerodynamics which should positively impact range. This could also increase the sense of spaciousness, which particularly matters in a car of such a footprint.
The side profile of the 2024 MINI Electric could be more or less the same. However, the dimensions will be quite different. As a bespoke EV, which isn’t the case with the current model, it will have a longer wheelbase and a shorter front overhang. According to a report from Autocar, the wheelbase will be around 40 mm longer, and the track width will also be increased, reflected in our render.
From 2024, BMW Group plans to only use sustainably produced aluminum wheels in all MINI (and BMW) models. Producing these wheels with 100% green energy will save up to 500,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. BMW Group started sourcing aluminum made only using electricity produced with solar energy from Dubai (UAE) in 2021. The company processes this aluminum in the light metal foundry at its Landshut plant, Germany.
The all-new electric MINI’s rear-end will make it instantly recognizable from a distance, thanks to newly designed tail lamps that will be slimmer and almost triangular. A thick trim strip will run across the width of the tailgate and connect the tail lamps. There could be an LED backlight behind this strip, although there’s no supporting evidence for that speculation at the moment.
Gleaning from the spy shots that hit the web last year (via Twitter), the interior of the next-gen MINI Cooper Electric will have a layout that is familiar to MINI owners — but with some big design changes. MINI designers have adopted a minimalistic approach and gave the car a sleek, clean, and upmarket feel. This will particularly benefit tech-savvy customers, as we expect more controls to go digital. A spy picture has revealed slim, horizontal central AC vents below a compact control panel with retro-style switches likely for temperature and audio controls, a wide heads-up display, and a huge, floating touchscreen in the shape of a makeup mirror.
Platform & Specifications
Bespoke EV platform
Underpinning the next-gen MINI Electric will be a dedicated EV platform co-developed with China’s Great Wall Motor. Thanks to the bespoke platform, it is likely to offer more interior space in a smaller exterior compared to the current model. Thomas Geiger of YouTube channel ThomasGeigerCar rode shotgun in a prototype where he said that the car feels bigger from the inside. The motor will be smaller, while the wheelbase, as stated in the previous section, is longer, all of which contribute to space efficiency.
According to the Autocar report, two variants of the new MINI will be available. The base variant will have a 40 kWh battery pack, and the top-end ‘S’ variant will have a ~50 kWh battery pack.
|Aspect\Specification||Base Variant||Top-end Variant|
|Battery Pack Capacity||40 kWh||Around 50 kWh|
|Expected Range (unofficial, WLTP)||Around 185 miles||Almost 250 miles|
|Power||Approx. 181 hp||Approx. 221 hp|
The 40 kWh battery pack may provide a range of around 185 miles, while the ~50 kWh battery pack will likely allow traveling up to almost 250 miles on a full charge. The EPA-est. range should be lesser, though. MINI might not offer the base variant stateside because of the low range. Both variants may have a single motor powering the front wheels, with the power output tuned around 181 hp for the base variant and around 221 hp for the top-end variant.
Geiger said that the electronically limited top speed of the next-gen electric MINI will be higher than that of the current model, which tops out at 150 km/h (93 mph). We expect the redesigned model to do about 180 km/h (112 mph).
Lower center of gravity
MINI engineer Klaus Bramer has told Auto Express that the redesigned MINI Electric has a lower center of gravity, and so, it’s possible to make the car more agile and playful. The new MINI is lighter, too, which can only make things better on the street. The high-output, long-range variant, which will likely be the one heading to the U.S., will have a sportier set-up. According to the report from Autocar, the all-new model will have a slightly rear-biased weight distribution.
A more driver’s car
The suspension system will be the same, a combination of MacPherson struts (front) and a multi-link system (rear). During its prototype drive, Autocar felt less bounciness, and drivers would much appreciate its settledness. Bramer told the British publication that the electric power steering will also offer more feeling in the next-gen model.
The all-new traction control should contribute to improved handling. The traction control system will integrate a new motor controller, and with the two components closer, the functioning will be faster and active rather than passive, reducing understeer and torque steer. At least in the prototype, it was felt that the new setup provided more traction than the current gas-powered MINI Hatch which was brought for comparison.
Production of the next-gen MINI Cooper Electric will take place at a new Chinese plant of Spotlight Automotive Limited, a joint venture between BMW Group and Great Wall Motor. Located in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province, this factory will have an annual production capacity of 160,000 units.
The next-gen electric MINI is approximately 16 months away from entering production (September 2023), as per the Autocar report filed on March 22, 2022. The next-gen MINI 5-door and next-gen MINI Convertible will roll out of the BMW Group Plant Oxford. The latter is confirmed to receive electric drive.
The 2024 MINI Electric will start arriving at dealers in 2024. The U.S. launch should follow closely after Europe. Like the current model, the next-gen model should be one of the cheapest electric car models in the U.S. market.
MINI U.S. sales
BMW Group sold 6,786 units of MINI models in the U.S. in Q1 2022, recording a 9.4% growth over Q1 2021 (6,285 units). The German automaker hasn’t released the specific sales data of the all-electric MINI Cooper SE. It has revealed that the MINI Hatch 2-door family’s sales, though. The company delivered 1,843 units of the Cooper/S Hardtop 2 Door in Q1 2022, 4.0% higher than in Q1 2021 (1,772 units).
2024 MINI Electric (2024 MINI Cooper SE)
What is the 2024 MINI Electric release date?
The next-gen MINI Electric will go on sale in 2024.
What will be the 2024 MINI Electric price?
The new MINI Electric’s prices could start at slightly above USD 30,000.
Which models will be the 2024 MINI Electric rivals?
In Europe, the 2024 MINI Electric will rival the Honda e, Renault 5 (due in 2025), and Peugeot e-208.
Featured image: TopElectricSUV’s exclusive rendition of the 2024 MINI Cooper SE.