BMW unveils MINI 'E-Scooter'
Fresh from unleashing the well-received 'Countryman' crossover into the world, BMW's MINI division surges deeper into unfamiliar waters by unveiling a trio of eco-friendly 'E-Scooters'.
While the new 'Countryman' has supersized the company's reputation, the 'E-Scooter' is a conscious shift in the opposite direction. Electrically powered, these diminutive two-wheelers are pitched at image-conscious commuters, unwilling to sacrifice style on their daily slog.
Ten years on from the revamped MINI's arrival at the Paris Motor Show, the 'E-Scooter' concept helps recognise and address the mounting challenges facing today's environmentally conscious urbanite.
Spontaneous, flexible and CO2-absolved, the 'E-Scooter' range is shaped around a trilogy. Kicking off proceedings is the single-seater and sportiest of the range. Upholstered dark brown leather seats and Racing Green bodywork make direct reference to the (although now German-owned) Britishness synonymous with the brand.
Next is the two-seater variant, developed specifically for dual enjoyment, while the range culminates in the design-progressive 1960s Mod-inspired moped. The white paintwork on this two-seater derivative is adorned with distinctive graphics - not forgetting its centrepiece, the iconic Union Jack leather seat.
Uniqueness aside, common features are found laced throughout. The central circular instrument cluster, the prominent indicator lamps and chrome trims allow the collective to remain unmistakably MINI.
All models are driven by a built-in rear wheel drive electric motor, powered by a compact lithium-ion battery. All that's required of the rider is to locate the nearest available standard AC power outlet, take a seat and remain suitably smug until their next guilt-free escapade. Energised by news of the impending 'E-Scooter', Wallpaper* spoke to Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW's Design Director.
[B]What was the thinking behind the concept? [/B]
Future mobility is something we're looking into in a very broad sense. We have several concepts, including all-electric MINIs. Two-wheeled mobility will become more important in the future. Zero emissions is also a must-have in the future.
[B]So why MINI? [/B]
We thought that the MINI brand would be very suitable for scooters - it works well in the urban environment. A MINI should be able to get you into the heart of the city.
[B]Does the scooter fit into the 'Countryman' for example?[/B]
No, but there is a connection in design terms to MINI cars. We brought together designers from BMW's motorbike division with MINI. It'll certainly be zippy around town.
[B]What market sector is this pitched at? [/B]
It's too early to say where it will sit in the market. MINI makes premium
products. The goal of the project is to show that electric propulsion can be
fun. There are three vehicles, each with a character of its own.
[B]So will every manufacturer have a scooter in the future? (Smart also announced a scooter concept at Paris)[/B]
Right now, two-wheeled scooters are currently a leisure product that people have fun with at weekends. We would like to make it premium and emotional. I don't know if every company could follow suit. I think some will, of course.
[B]Where next for the MINI brand? [/B]
It's funny that you call MINI a brand. For 45 years it was just one car. The
'Countryman' is the first car with no predecessor in the MINI history. Then will
come the scooter. So we'll develop the MINI brand carefully. It's in a good position right now. In the future there'll be a greater need for small, premium cars.