MINI will launch its first plug-in hybrid in 2017, a version of the Countryman SUV.
The electric MINI forms part of the second-generation Countryman range, which will also be offered with conventional engine options. The new model is expected to be unveiled in the next few weeks.
MINI is not currently giving details of the plug-in hybrid powertrain, though it is expected to be based around the 1.5-litre three cylinder turbo engine. The engine will power the front wheels of the car, the electric motor the rears.
According to the car’s designers the car will be capable of up to 50mph in standard ‘AutoeDrive’ electric mode, and up to 78mph in a ‘AutoeMax’ mode – well beyond electric-only modes in typical hybrids.
With both combustion engine and electric motor working together, the hybrid is said to “demonstrate unparalleled acceleration performance when compared with its combustion-only siblings.” However no figures are being quoted at this point.
Part of the electric ability is due to a new high-voltage battery unit that is housed under the car’s rear seats, while the charging socket is discreetly hidden in the left scuttle.
The car also has a ‘Save Battery’ mode, which when pressed has the engine power the car while the battery can be recharged using a generator.
Few further details are yet being released concerning either the hybrid or the new Countryman range as a whole, though judging by prototypes seen testing the styling of the new model will not change radically over the current car.