Less than a month after the first mass-produced Mini Electric rolled off the assembly line, the iconic British brand is already working on the next model – and will likely include the option of an electrified hot hatch across the Cooper S and John Cooper Works ranges.
“It’s not a contradiction when it comes to performance and electro-mobility. So at one point, John Cooper Works needs to re-interpret itself,” said Mini boss Bernd Koerber during a briefing with Australian media during the Frankfurt motor show.
“It is not something tomorrow, because we have effectively just launched our John Cooper Works, but at one point why not (have an electric hot hatch)? If you have the chance to drive the Mini Electric you will not have the feeling we are missing out on the performance or go-kart feeling,” said Mr Koerber.
“Why not have a hot hatch defined as an electrified vehicle at one point... and to find the John Cooper Works brand also in this sphere of electric mobility,” Mr Koerber added.
The Mini boss conceded some countries still prefer petrol-powered performance cars, “however I have to say with (plug-in hybrids and battery electric cars) you will see that performance will get to a next level with either supported or fully electric vehicles,” he said.
Mini says while it is about to embark on a major push into the electric car space, it’s not ready to walk away from the turbo petrol performance-car market because the world still has varying tastes in cars.
“When you look into the next 10 years... if we want to be a global brand then you have to take into account all countries and all regions are different,” said Mr Koerber, adding that he expected internal combustion engines to survive beyond 2030.
Because Mini cars appeal to urban buyers “we will see a high share of electrified vehicles and more to come”, he said.
In addition to keeping petrol power in the Mini line-up in the foreseeable future, Mr Koerber said it may even add all-wheel-drive to a future high performance version of the three-door Cooper.
“At one point yes, because you have to (adopt all-wheel-drive), to get the performance,” said MrKoerber. “There is nothing in the pipeline, nothing that I would say now. But there is nothing that speaks against it. Why not?”