September 23 2010.
MINI can never be accused of standing still. Shortly after the launch of the brand's largest ever vehicle, the Countryman, MINI is showing its smallest in a world premiere at the Paris Motor Show (October 2-17). The MINI Scooter E Concept is an innovative new vehicle that combines the agility and brio of a two wheeler with zero-emissions sustainability through its electric power plant.
The drive concept incorporated in the study underpins the consistent development efforts of the BMW Group in its quest to achieve CO2-free mobility. Electric drive plays a key role in this endeavour and allows the MINI Scooter E Concept to deliver the driving fun associated with the brand in a new and highly contemporary package. The instantaneous pick-up of electric drive systems, plus the vehicle's low weight and compact dimensions, ensure pure agility in typical urban traffic conditions. These features and the simple operation of the charging system make the MINI Scooter E Concept a pioneering symbol of independent, flexible and spontaneous mobility.
The MINI Scooter E Concept is powered by an electric motor integrated in the rear wheel. The motor's lithium-ion battery can be recharged at any conventional power socket using an on-board charging cable. The new machine is shown in two forms - one with two seats and the other in sporty single seat form - and draws on all MINI's legendary fun, style and connectivity.
MINI-style urban mobility
The MINI E UK field trial is only half way through but the BMW Group's commitment to electric drive and a future of sustainable urban mobility never sleeps. With the MINI Scooter E Concept, the company is demonstrating that there are no boundaries to the possibilities of future vehicle shapes and sizes. Any vehicle wearing a MINI badge must, however, deliver unmistakeable design, personalisation opportunities, thoughtful functionality, low emissions and, of course, MINI's hallmark driving fun.
The MINI Scooter E Concept achieves all these requirements and meets the mobility aspirations of people that recognize premium quality, advanced technology as well as valuing sustainable mobility as much as individual style and driving enjoyment. It also highlights new ways of attracting an even younger audience to share in the MINI experience...even before they are able to drive a car on the road.
The design of the MINI Scooter E Concept also embraces the changes demanded for mobility in urban areas. The MINI brand has long followed the principle of individual mobility with optimum use of space with the smallest possible footprint. This principle is now being applied to the brand's first two-wheel vehicle, offering seats for up to two people within remarkably compact dimensions. The study also embodies the first two-wheel concept to combine a sustainable drive technology with design features geared to lifestyle.
Typically MINI features abound
The MINI Scooter E Concept is quintessentially a MINI. The design language and wealth of individual detailing embodied in the two-wheel study are based on the current production models of the MINI brand. Clearly defined proportions and smoothly contoured lines lend the MINI Scooter E Concept an aesthetic appearance that draws significant parallels to the brand's cars.
The relationship between its 11-inch wheels and the body structure give the MINI Scooter E Concept a powerful and robust appearance, emulating the profile of MINI cars. The contours of the body from the sides enhance the 'MINI' impression while the windshield is angled in a similar way to that of a MINI Hatch. The curvatures of the windshield sides also display strong similarities to MINI cars as it merges into the A-pillars.
The front view of the MINI Scooter E Concept is dominated by a large, ovoid headlight unit. Similar to the headlights of the MINI Countryman, its contours are influenced by the geometry of the surrounding surfaces. Taking its cue from the low windshield the headlight unit tapers upwards and features a chrome surround while the circular headlight interior is highlighted by an illuminated coloured ring.
Two indicator units evoke the front view of the classic Mini. The prominent glass covers for the flasher lamps are enclosed by chrome frames and curve slightly outwards. A stylised aperture in the windshield, framed in chrome and shaped like the hexagonal radiator grille in MINI cars, lies below the headlight. The windshield itself is framed by a wraparound plastic surround and each of the two versions has individually matched paintwork for the windshield, wheel covers and the fairing enclosing the frame. A contrasting colour is applied to the surface of each of the windshields on the different studies.
The rear-view mirrors on the MINI Scooter E Concept also display familiar 'MINI' characteristics in both shape and size relative to the vehicle. The round contour of the mirror surfaces, the eye-catching hemispherical casing and the different mirror cap designs all lend individuality to the concepts.
At the rear two tail light units are mounted on the either side of the rear wheel fairing and providing clearly-structured tail- and brake lights and indicators sections. Both tail light units are mounted in a chrome frame while chrome elements are evident on the hand grip at the back of the seat, which is shaped like the tail spoiler on a MINI Cooper S, and on the footrest. MINI logos are positioned above the windshield aperture at the front and between the tail lights.
MINI energises the connected generation
The MINI Scooter E Concept is a rallying call for spontaneous riding enjoyment fostered by intuitive operation and agile riding characteristics. The concept also aims to enable easy use of the other functions designed to enhance driving fun by employing an innovative way of integrating mobile devices. The cockpit of the MINI Scooter E Concept is dominated by the iconic MINI circular Central Speedo, with a Smartphone integrated in the middle. The wraparound speedometer takes the form of a tube filled with fluid (rather like a thermometer) which expands as the speed rises. In the lower area of the Centre Speedo, a battery charge level display indicates the range currently available. The design of all the switches for lights, direction indicators and other driving functions corresponds to the buttons on the multifunction steering wheel of MINI cars.
Smartphone is the key
Inside of the Speedo lies a snap-in adapter for a Smartphone, which operates simultaneously as the vehicle key, display and central control element. As soon as the rider docks his mobile phone and switches it on, the vehicle is ready to go. This also offers scope for integrating infotainment, communication and navigation functions in a two-wheeler. While the scooter is in motion, the Smartphone can be used as a navigation system, music player or telephone as required. A wireless Bluetooth interface can be connected to a helmet from the MINI Collection which is fitted with a microphone and headphones so that riders are able to use the telephone function or access their personal music collection while on the road.
This innovative operating concept creates a network between the rider, the vehicle and the environment which paves the way for numerous new interactive functions. Building on the MINI Connected services, already available in current MINI cars, specific features can be implemented by adding further Smartphone applications. For example, the navigation function can be supplemented by a special Google Maps view that indicates the current position of other MINI scooters in the immediate vicinity. This facilitates a feature similar to social networking on the internet in which riders who are friends can be identified and invited to come together on a whim simply by pressing a button. An automated full-beam headlight function that operates when two vehicles meet has also been developed for the MINI Scooter E Concept to further strengthen the community appeal and highlight the friendly and open-minded personality of this vehicle.
MINI Centre Rail - innovative design for people on the move.
Two compartments on the inside of the windshield are available for stowing personal items. The MINI Scooter E Concept also incorporates the innovative aluminium MINI Centre Rail, first presented in the MINI Countryman, which fits inside the windshield extending down into the foot space. Its unique clip-on mechanism offers a wide range of options for stowing items needed during the journey or at the rider's destination. Accessories for the Centre Rail include tailor-made holders from the MINI Collection for helmet, umbrellas, sunglasses, thermos flasks, a closed compartment and a rain guard to protect the rider's legs in wet weather. A music player, calendar, stopwatch and tea cups specially designed for the MINI Scooter E Concept can also be easily attached to the Centre Rail.
Energised on the go - all you need is.......a power socket
Back in 1967 all you needed was love. The flower power era saw Minis decorated with bright flowers and signs of love and peace. With MINI Scooter E Concept, all you need is a power socket!
When riding the MINI Scooter E Concept brief stops can be used to top up the on-board energy storage system. Such consistent charging significantly increases the independence and flexibility of the electrically powered two-wheeler. The electric drive unit, concealed beneath a painted panel inside the rear wheel, is powered by electricity supplied from a lithium-ion battery. Apart from the compact battery, a charging system and connecting cable are integrated neatly in the rear of the MINI Scooter E Concept. The charging cable has a plug which fits all conventional domestic sockets.
Plugs and cables are accommodated underneath a cover similar to the round tank flap in a MINI car. After opening the illuminated flap, the plug and charging cable can be pulled out to a length of up to five metres and connected to the power system. After the battery has been charged a button-operated spring mechanism ensures that the cable is retracted and tidily coiled away in a space-saving compartment.
One concept, two characters.
The MINI Scooter E Concept will be presented at the Paris salon in two versions, one to deliver driving fun for two people and the other an emphatically sporty, thoroughbred version with a seat designed for the rider alone.
The colour design of the two-seater version is based on the appearance of the MINI E with a livery in matt anthracite and contrasting yellow seat and mirror caps. The surface of the seat is made of tough fabric material, with a yellow strip bordering the lower part of the seat.
The single seater MINI Scooter E Concept is steeped in the brand's British heritage with a British Racing Green windshield and the seat upholstered in 'aged' dark brown leather. Contrasting silver mirror caps and paintwork around the headlight unit that flips between green and silver complete the design.
Click on image above to enlarge.