New 2020 electric MINI Cooper SE spotted undisguised

Latest spy shots reveal the look of the new electric MINI Cooper SE hatch ahead of its official reveal

This is our best look yet at the new fully-electric MINI Cooper SE months ahead of its official reveal.

Spotted during a photoshoot on the streets of Los Angeles, the electric hatchback can be seen completely undisguised, sporting various unique design cues to mark it out from the rest of the MINI range.

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The aerodynamic wheel design, yellow detailing and blanked off grille clearly indicate this as the Cooper SE. While some manufacturers, such as Nissan with its pioneering Leaf, choose not to highlight the car’s EV credentials from the outside, MINI’s head of design Oliver Heilmer told Auto Express it’s important that the firm’s first electric vehicle stands out.

“For the production MINI electric we have carried over some of the details from the concept car, features like the wheels and grille,” Heilmer told us. “This is important as the MINI electric is all about the details.”

Prototypes of the MINI electric have been undergoing development testing in the Austrian Alps, where engineers are busy fine-tuning the car’s mechanical set-up. Previous spy images show the electric MINI will be based on an entry-level three-door Hatch, and there are currently no plans to offer the car as a larger five-door model.

Heilmer added: “We are in a transition phase from combustion-engined cars to electrified ones. During this time we need to show the difference between these cars. Our electric cars need to be like the difference we already have between the standard car and the John Cooper Works cars; noticeably different.”

Under the skin the MINI electric will use familiar technology from parent company BMW; the EV is expected to make use of the larger 29kWh battery that is used across the BMW i3 line-up. The battery will power a 181bhp electric motor on the front axle and should deliver a range of just under 160 miles on the new WLTP cycle.

Much like MINI’s only current electrified vehicle, the Countryman Cooper S E hybrid, the fully-electric supermini is expected to offer similar performance to the petrol-powered Cooper S Hatch. With full torque available from a standstill, that means a 0-62mph time of less than seven seconds could be on the cards.

However, Heilmer hinted that MINI’s future EVs could go even further and pair up with the more potent JCW-badged cars.

“Can electric cars and John Cooper Works cars come together?” Heilmer asked. “Why not? When you look at the performance of our MINI Countryman, performance and electrification work well together.”

Did you think an all-electric MINI will be a success? Let us know below…

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