There is hope for a new true Mini after all.
Introduced at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show and updated a year later for the London Olympics, the Mini Rocketman was a tiny hatchback spanning at 3.4 meters (134 inches) and created to evoke the pint-sized original Mini of the 1960s. To get an idea about the showcar’s size in relation to the brand’s current smallest car, the three-door hatch you can buy today is 40 centimeters (16 inches) longer.
While for the time being there aren’t any plans on the company’s agenda to downsize, Mini’s global senior vice-president, Sebastien Mackensen, has revealed there is potential for a new entry-level in the lineup. He went on to specify the Rocketman is a suitable candidate for that role, but only if transformed into a fully electric vehicle.
The UKL platform upon which all of today’s Minis are based has not been engineered for cars shorter than 3.8 meters, so it’s technically not possible to launch a Rocketman riding on Mini’s current underpinnings. Mackensen also said it’s quite tricky nowadays to make money with a smaller car because the costs are not necessarily that much lower considering such a model would use just about the same technology as the bigger, more expensive vehicles.
A different architecture catering EVs could be put to good use on a road-going small car roughly the same size as the Rocketman, but more spacious after taking out the oily bits of a conventionally powered vehicle. Mini is already gearing up for its electric push as 2019 will be the year when it will launch its very first zero-emissions production model. Perhaps later into the next decade, the BMW-owned marque will come out with something along the lines of a Rocketman without a combustion engine.
As for the gorgeous Superleggera concept introduced roughly three years ago, it’s unfortunately dead for the time being, but we’re not giving up hope.
Source: Mini via CarAdvice