It looks a whole lot like the three-door Mini Hardtop but can plug in.
A fresh batch of spy photos provides the best look yet at the upcoming Mini E. The photographer catches the little EV while it's charging at a picturesque spot in the Austrian Alps, and there's even a glimpse inside the cabin.
Mini still covers this test mule in camouflage, but the closer look provides a better look at the design. In large part, the styling is the same as the standard three-door Hardtop. The biggest tweak is at the nose where the designers block off the grille, except for two rows of holes in the centre. This element might look good with two-tone paint to match the roof and further Mini's vaguely retro aesthetics. The rest of the concealment appears to cover up the existing body. Unfortunately, this one lacks the aggressive side sills and revised rear bumper from the Mini Electric Concept. The four-spoke wheels are a clear nod to the show car, though.
The interior also appears to carry over from the current Hardtop. The only major changes might be to the steering-wheel-stalk-mounted gauges. The engineers cover the area on this test mule, but what's underneath appears smaller than on the combustion-powered version.
Drivetrain details about the electric Hardtop are still a mystery other than that the components come from BMW's Dingolfing and Landshut plants in Germany. Rumours indicate that it uses a single, front-mounted electric motor. BMW allegedly intends to use this setup as the basis for an i1 model, too.
The Mini E will go into production in November 2019. Later, the company will reportedly launch a second EV, but it will be exclusive to the Chinese market as a joint venture with Great Wall Motors.
If Mini really wants to ignite interest as an EV company, it could put the Classic Mini Electric concept into production (gallery below). This pint-sized machine looks just like a classic Mini Cooper but features an electric drivetrain that results in a charming combination of retro and modern.
Gallery: Classic Mini Electric At New York Auto Show