One of the best MINI concepts of the last decade was the 2011 MINI Rocketman, a stylish urban-based concept. Over the years, there were several rumors that the Rocketman will enter production, but none of those rumors came to fruition. Until now, or at least that’s Autocar UK claims in their latest report. The UK magazine says that BMW has given the green light to a heavily reworked electric-powered production version of the Rocketman which is set to be launched in 2022.
The three-door hatchback is planned to be an electric powered entry-level model with production set to take place at Spotlight Automotive – a newly established joint venture operation run by BMW and its partner Great Wall Motors in Jiangsu, China. The joint venture operates a factory in China for global markets.
“We’re advancing plans for a model along the lines of the Rocketman. It’s a car we have been looking at for a long time, but to build it profitably at the price point we think customers are prepared to pay, you need a joint venture partner to share costs. Great Wall Motors has provided that opportunity with a shared electric car platform that will be used by Mini,” a senior BMW official revealed to Autocar.
The original Rocketman was planned around a range of three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, but the reborn Rocketman will join the electric lineup of MINI which was just put in motion with the launch of the MINI Cooper SE.
Nothing has been made official at this stage, though the production version of the Rocketman is expected to share its underpinnings and key elements of its electric driveline with the Ora R1 – a compact hatchback launched by Great Wall Motors’ new Ora electric vehicle sub-brand in 2018. At 3495mm in length, 1669mm in width and 1530mm in height, the R1 is similar in dimensions to the 2011 Rocketman concept. It is powered by a front-mounted electric motor developing 47bhp and 92lb ft of torque.
Energy is provided by a standard 30.7kWh or optional 33kWh lithium-ion battery, providing the price leading Ora model with an official range of 310km and 351km respectively.
With the news of only electric MINI cars in the future, this rumor has more substance than ever before, so we wouldn’t be surprised to finally see the Rocketman on the road in the next decade.