Join me, friends, on a brain-journey back to 2011, when, for one brief, magical moment, Mini seemed to remember that, oh yeah, we’re supposed to be making cool small cars. Minis have been growing and growing every year, making their name more and more of a stretch, but in 2011 Mini showed their Rocketman concept, which was tiny and clever and exciting and felt like something that really captured the spirit of the original Mini. Then they forgot all about it. Until now! Yes, the Rocketman is set to become reality, as an electric car, in China.
That means that, as an EV, the Rocketman should actually be able to burn out its fuse out there, alone.
Mini will be partnering with China’s Great Wall carmaker, best known (to me, at least) as the company that bought the old first-gen Scion xB tooling and resurrected it as the Great Wall Coolbear.
According to Autocar UK, the Rocketman EV will share a basic platform and electric drivetrain components with the Great Wall-built Ora R1 electric car, which is notable for being one of the cheapest real (as in not a low-speed neighborhood EV thing) electric car sold, coming in at about $8,680.
Even though the price of the Ora R1 is bargain basement, it boasts a nearly 200 mile range (U.S. range standards may make it closer to 150 miles or so, really), though it’s only making about 47 horsepower.
It’s likely that a Mini version would have uprated specs compared to the Ora, so I’d suspect that we’ll see more power from the Rocketman.
As far as if the Rocketman’s novel drawer-like rear tailgate design, double-hinged doors, subtle Union Jackery, and grab-handle taillights will actually make it to production, I can’t say, but I sure as hell hope so. The Rocketman was a great, innovative little concept, and, with cars like Honda’s novel and appealing Honda E coming out, Mini will need to step up the game.
It’s a shame we’ll likely never see this, an actually mini Mini, here in America, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it made its way to Europe.