As more and more manufacturers are struggling to find ways to keep up with the trends and offer electric and hybrid vehicles for the masses, the panic is starting to reach MINI as well. As part of the BMW Group, the British brand will surely offer a host of EV models later down the line, the first one even being confirmed last week, for 2019. However, people are not only expecting new MINIs to be more eco-friendly they’re still waiting for the brand to go back to its ‘core’.
The core means smaller and more affordable cars and due to the fact that these two aspects seem to go hand in hand for some, most fail to realize that a smaller car isn’t necessarily cheaper to build. In a recent interview with Car Advice, MINI’s global senior vice-president, Sebastien Mackensen, made this exact point: ““You know, in the very end also we are in a business and you have to develop the car, and if it is smaller the customer expectation would be that this smaller size would apply to the price as well. And this squeezes more air out of the system because it’s actually not necessarily cheaper to develop a smaller car. You might use less metal but you still have the same propulsion technology, the same safety tech, and it makes it really hard to get to a positive case there.”
Furthermore, he emphasized the fact that for now MINI won’t be making any smaller cars than its 3-door hatch, which means the Rocketman project won’t see the light of day, as many execs before him have otherwise confirmed. However, with the development of EV technology, a case could be made for a better city car, even if it’s not exactly as small as the Rocketman. The use of electric motors instead of internal combustion ones, could allow the company to create smaller cars at lower costs.
“On the Rocketman side, there’s one thing to consider: that shouldn’t be a message like ‘Rocketman yes’… but if you think into electric mobility, the future, it might have the potential to change your requirements for space, for example in the front where today the engine block is,” Mackensen speculated. Therefore while the Rocketman per say might not make it, new EV tech could bring about a series of smaller MINIs in the future that could take inspiration from it.