According to Car Magazine, they've shot pictures of a test mule for a forthcoming Mini Cooper hybrid. Along with the shots, they've also got a dose of scheduling speculation to go with it. They think the vehicle is scheduled for an LA Auto Show unveiling by BMW boss man Norbert Reithofer and the nil-emissions Mini will go on sale in California first. But how can they tell it’s electric? Well, it’s got big “Hybrid Test Vehicle” stickers slapped all over it. Although you’d think they’d disguise the top-secret powerplant a bit better, the brand's got a history of thumbing its nose at the car paparazzi. Then there’s the complete and utter lack of any exhaust pipes. Oh, and the plug-shaped patch on the grille. Not much else is known, but, according to the magazine, a BMW insider did hint strongly that the use of the front-drive Mini over a RWD BMW is somehow significant. [via Car Magazine]
The Mini gets good mileage now, and its nippy little form factor makes it super-easy to live with in tight city parking. Adding hybridosity is good, selling the Diesel in the States would be good, selling us a hybridized Diesel would be the cat's pajamas. There are two limiting factors, though:
There's precious little space in the Mini as it is. Where do they find the volume to cram in the necessary hybrid bits? Those batteries take up some space, yo.
The Mini is kind of heavy for such a little car. If you really want the thing to get better mileage, as a hybrid or otherwise, you're going to have to put it on a diet.