Price from £23,000 (est) Release date 2019
Remember the Mini E? This all-electric version of the Mini hatchback was built in 2008 as a trial to assess the popularity of electric vehicles. Over the course of six months, 20 were sent to UK cities, where they could be leased for £330 per month.
At the time, it seemed like a fully electric Mini you could buy was only months away from the showroom but, almost 10 years later, we're still waiting. Not for much longer, though, because the long-awaited electric Mini will go on sale in 2019 and has been previewed by this Mini Electric concept car.
2019 Mini Electric features
Making its public debut at next month's Frankfurt motor show, the Mini Electric is based on the three-door Mini hatchback, which currently has a four-star rating on our road test. In fact, we think it's one of the best small cars around, so on paper an all-electric version with minimal running costs would appeal to plenty of drivers.
This concept car's futuristic looks will be toned down for production. For the moment, the car features aggressive front and rear bumpers, a closed-off front grille, side skirts and LED lights at the front and rear. At the rear, those lights form the shape of a Union Jack, drawing attention to Mini's status as a British company.
While these enhancements are designed to make the Mini Electric appear sporty and agile, they also help to channel air around the car, making it more aerodynamic and increasing its driving range.
Interestingly, too, this concept's styling could extend to other future Mini models, as the entire range will be renewed soon after the turn of the decade.
2019 Mini Electric engine
One thing Mini hasn't revealed is the concept's driving range. But given that Mini will want to take on established models such as the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf, a figure of around 180 miles on a single charge seems likely. Indeed, the Mini Electric is likely to use the same electric motor as the updated BMW i3, which produces 168bhp and provides a real-world range of 186 miles.
Another option that Mini may explore is the idea of a range-extender, where a small petrol motor can be used to recharge the car's battery on the move. The i3 in range-extender form has a range of 205 miles.
2019 Mini Electric interior
We have yet to see inside the Mini Electric concept car but, as it's based on the three-door Mini hatchback, expect to find seating for five, a reasonable boot and an infotainment system running the latest version of parent company BMW's iDrive software, controlled via a rotay dial on the centre console. Innovations from the most recent BMW models, such as the fully digital and customisable instrument display seen in the latest 5 Series, are also likely to feature.
2019 Mini Electric price
The electric Mini will sit at the very top of the company's hatchback range, so will cost significantly more than the current model. The Mini Countryman plug-in hybrid – Mini's first electrified production car – has a price tag of £31,575, which is in excess of £8000 more expensive than the regular car. If Mini follows the same logic with the all-electric three-door hatchback, expect a starting price of around £23,000.
At that price, the electric Mini will be more expensive than both the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe, which are priced from £21,680 and £19,845 respectively. Like both of those cars, the all-electric Mini will also be eligable for the full electric vehicle grant of £4500, so potentially bringing that starting price down to £18,500.
The top 10 electric cars on sale today
Like the sound of the Mini Electric, but don't want to wait until 2019? Fortunately, there are plenty of electric cars already on sale. Here we count down our favourites, tell you which ones to avoid, and look ahead to some of the other models you'll be able to buy soon.
10. Volkswagen e-Up
The regular Volkswagen Up is one of our favourite city cars and this electric version is just as practical and good to drive. It feels almost entirely uncompromised by its conversion to electric power. It's just that, unfortunately, it costs twice as much as the petrol models.
What Car? rating
9. Nissan Leaf
One of the more affordable electric models on sale, the Leaf is about the same size as a Vauxhall Astra and similarly easy to drive. There are two battery options to choose from: a 24kWh that allows a theoretical range between charges of 124 miles and a 30kWh that extends this to 155 miles. The latter is only available on the more expensive trim levels, though.
What Car? rating
8. Toyota Mirai
The Mirai is a hydrogen-fuelled car, which means that you'll need to fill it up with hydrogen at specially chosen filling stations, of which there are currently very few. It's powered by a single 152bhp electric motor and can travel for up to 400 miles between refills. We found it to be quiet and well controlled but, at around £66,000, it's certainly pricey. And with limited volumes coming to the UK, it's likely to be a very rare sight.
What Car? rating
Page 1 of 4