Following its world premiere in July 2022, the MINI Concept Aceman will make a public appearance later this month at the Auto Shanghai 2023. The electric crossover is going to be a lot smarter than before by incorporating Spike, touted as being an Intelligent Personal Assistant, so think Siri or Alexa but for cars. The four-legged friend will also be showcased as a large sculpture at the event in China, which is scheduled to take place between April 17-28.
The cute bulldog represents a recurring theme considering it has been around since 2001 when parent company BMW Group launched the modern MINI. The main idea behind incorporating a virtual dog into the circular OLED center display and instrument cluster of the Concept Aceman is to create an emotional bond between the driver and the car. The Oxford-based marque says it will detail what Spike can do later this year.
MINI intends to implement Spike in its next generation of models, kicking off with the new hatchback coming later this year in both gasoline and electric flavors. Before the end of 2023, we’ll also see the revamped Countryman as a larger and more sophisticated crossover built by BMW in Leipzig, complete with a purely electric derivative. The smaller Aceman will arrive as an EV-only model later in 2024.
As to why MINI is choosing to preview Spike at Auto Shanghai rather than on European soil, it’s because the subsequent production version of the Aceman will be built in China. In addition, the electric Cooper three-door hatchback is also going to be assembled in the People’s Republic. Both EVs will be made by Spotlight Automotive, a joint venture between the BMW Group and Great Wall Motor.
The electric hatch and subcompact crossover will be manufactured in Zhangjiagang in the Jiangsu Province where the newly erected plant will have a maximum annual capacity of 160,000 units. BMW and GWM are investing approximately €650 million and hiring 3,000 people to support the 50:50 joint venture, which was originally signed back in the summer of 2018.