By Stewart Smith on 2016-10-17 - Stewart was the former motoring editor of the Coventry Telegraph and is now a freelance contributor to Eurekar. He is based in Scotland and specialises in First Drive reviews.
MINI plugs in to
BMW has almost completed the development of the first MINI plug-in hybrid model.
It features a petrol combustion engine and an electric motor enabling purely electric propulsion for zero emission motoring.
The MINI plug-in hybrid, or PHEV, comes with a high-voltage battery under the rear seats providing power for long-lasting electric driving.
An AUTO eDRIVE standard mode permits speeds of up to 50 mph, while in MAX eDRIVE mode speeds of up to 78 mph are possible. This means that entirely electric driving is possible at speeds well beyond city traffic pace.
The charging socket for the battery is integrated in the left side scuttle. Everything looks familiar in the cockpit with the exception of the start/stop button in the centre of the dashboard glows yellow instead of red.
Press the button to start the car and the vehicle remains silent as the hybrid model always starts in electric mode.
The rev counter in the instrument cluster on the steering column has been replaced with a power display.
When the combustion engine starts varies depending upon on the vehicle's speed and the intensity with which the driver operate the accelerator pedal.
A special feature of the hybrid MINI is that it is basically a four-wheel-drive car. The electric motor transmits its power to the rear wheels, the combustion engine to the front wheels.
Head of MINI brand management Sebastian Mackensensaid: "With this model we want to convince MINI customers of the benefits of hybrid drive and impress everyone who already has hybrid driving experience with MINI's unique go-kart driving feel.
"The key to achieving this lies in intelligent energy management which is used to control how the combustion engine and electric motor operate together. For this reason, the first MINI plug-in hybrid model is not solely focused on efficiency, but in pursuit of driving fun."
Trials of the new model are continuing before BMW takes any decision of putting the MINI PHEV into production.
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