Getting its world debut in Paris, but unveiled in London, the Mini Scooter E Concept represents the Mini design team's unparalleled expertise in recognizing the challenges for mobility in major urban areas, and meeting these challenges with the development of stylish, innovative and sustainable future-focused concepts.
There are a total of three interpretations of the Mini Scooter E Concept conceived by Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design: two of which will be shown at the Paris Motor Show next week, while the third concept, inspired by the swinging sixties, is being shown exclusively in London.
The scooter meets the needs of the young urban generation: Spontaneous, flexible, CO2-free mobility. Using a smart phone as the ignition key, the concept integrates infotainment, communication and navigation systems. The Mini Scooter E Concept is powered by an electric motor which can be recharged at any conventional power socket using an on-board charging cable.
Says Adrian van Hooydonk: "The Mini Scooter E Concept represents an electric vision of the future as urban mobility takes a new direction by Mini. We are delighted to debut during the London Design Festival and pay homage to our British heritage while also marking a new era for Mini. The Mini Scooter E Concept is true to our brand values of distinctive design, intelligent functionality and customization, and builds on these characteristics by combining driving pleasure with sustainable technology into the first two-wheel concept of its kind for Mini."
The new scooter design concept is based on current production vehicles but pushes the creative boundaries. Just as the compact design of the classic Mini, born out of the 1950s oil crisis, the Mini Scooter E Concept is designed for the changing landscape in environmental and urban road traffic conditions, to offer a stylish and emission-free alternative for urban mobility. Set to appeal to a young, ecologically-conscious driver, the Mini E Scooter Concept offers a completely new perspective on the distinctive Mini driving experience while being immediately recognisable as a Mini.
Distinctive features include the circular central instrument cluster, the iconic speedometer, the prominent indicator lamps in the style of the classic Mini and chrome trim on the bodywork.
The design concepts differ in the number of passengers they carry. The first Mini Scooter E Concept is a two-seater variant. It mirrors the color scheme of the current Mini E hatch prototype, with body paintwork in matt charcoal, a yellow seat and yellow-painted mirror caps - and emphasizes the zero-emission driving. The second concept is a single-seater and the sportiest of the new concepts. Features include a classic combination of an upholstered seat in dark brown leather, paintwork in British Racing Green and silver mirror caps reminiscent of iconic racing cars.
The third and more design-progressive model - being shown exclusively in London - takes inspiration from the pop culture of the 1960s, a decade synonymous with the classic Mini, drawing on the distinctive graphics of the Mod era in particular. The white body color on this two-seater variant is decorated with numerous stickers, with the left-hand mirror cap featuring a Mini logo and the right hand one featuring the Royal Air Force symbol. The piece de resistance is a perforated leather seat through which the Union Jack shines.
A snap-in adaptor for a Smartphone allows the driver to use their mobile device as a route finder, music player or as a phone via a wireless Bluetooth interface from the Mini 'cockpit'. As soon as the rider docks his mobile phone and switches it on, the vehicle is ready to go. A navigation app enables drivers to know where other Mini E Scooter E Concept drivers are on the map, similar to social networking systems, to encourage interaction between the Mini E Scooter community. Technology currently in development will mean headlights on the scooters automatically light when they meet on the road.
The Mini Scooter E Concept is driven by a built-in rear wheel electric motor, which is powered by a compact lithium-ion battery. The battery can be plugged into any standard AC power outlet. A display screen indicates the amount of battery life available: the Mini Scooter E Concept can be charged via a retractable lead in the rear of the Scooter.
The study also incorporates an innovative version of the Mini Center Rail first presented earlier this year in the new Mini Countryman. The unique clip-on mechanism offers a range of options for transporting items that may required before, during or after the journey, for example a helmet, umbrella, sunglasses and thermos flasks.
The Mini Scooter E Concept opens a host of options for fun. Clearly defined proportions and smoothly contoured lines lend the Mini Scooter E Concept an aesthetic appearance that parallels the brand's cars.
The relationship between the size of the wheels and the vehicle as a whole play a significant role here. The 11-inch wheels of the Mini Scooter E Concept give the study a powerful and robust appearance, emulating the profile of Mini cars. The windshield of the Mini Scooter E Concept is angled in an upright position similar to that of the front windshield in Mini cars. The curvature designed into the sides also displays parallels with the transitions of a windshield in the Mini as it merges into the A-pillars.
The front view is dominated by a remarkably large, round headlight. Similar to the headlights of the Mini Countryman, the contour diverges slightly from the original circular shape, and both designs are influenced by the geometry of the surrounding surfaces. The headlight unit tapers upwards and features a chrome surround, creating a strong profile in characteristic Mini style. The circular shape of the main headlight interior is highlighted by an illuminated colored ring.
Projecting indicators, meanwhile, invoke the front view of the classic Mini. The glass covers for the flasher lamps are enclosed in chrome fames and curve slightly outwards to resemble the historic profile. A stylized aperture in the windshield configured below the headlight contributes to the front profile so typical of the brand, its shape mimicking the contour of the hexagonal radiator grille in Mini cars. This design element also has a chrome frame with the Mini logo above it. The windshield itself is framed by a plastic surround.
Each of the two study versions has individually matched paintwork for the windshield, wheel covers and fairing enclosing the frame. A contrasting color is applied to the surface of each of the windshields, and the range of hues in the paintwork reflects the light and shade effects on the curved hood of a Mini four-wheeler. Other chrome elements are evident on the hand grip at the back of the seat and on the footrest. The grip is shaped like the rear spoiler of the Mini Cooper S, while a continuous band of chrome positioned directly below the seat recalls the side sill on Mini cars.
The rear-view mirrors on the Mini Scooter E Concept likewise display familiar characteristics in their shape and their size in proportion to the vehicle. This applies to the round contour of the mirror surfaces, the eye-catching volume of the hemispherical casing, as well as the different mirror cap designs that permit individualization options.
The two tail light units are mounted on the outside of the rear fairing in an upright position. A transparent glass cover recalls the Mini Countryman and provides a view of the three-dimensional structure of the tail lights, brake lights and indicators. Each of the tail light units on the Mini Scooter E Concept is mounted in a chrome frame and the Mini logo is positioned between the lights.
The cockpit of the Mini Scooter E Concept comprises a Center Speedo in the circular shape familiar from Mini, with a smartphone integrated in the middle. The wraparound speedometer is in the form of a tube filled with fluid, the content expanding in line with the speed like a thermometer. In the lower area of the Speedo, a battery charge level display indicates the range currently available. The design of all the control elements for lights, direction indicators and other driving functions corresponds to the buttons on the multifunction steering wheel of Mini cars.
The inside of the round instrument comprises a snap-in adapter for a smartphone, which operates simultaneously as the vehicle key, display and central control element. While the scooter is in motion, the smartphone can be used as a navigation system, music player or telephone as required. A wireless Bluetooth interface can be connected to a helmet from the Mini Collection. This is fitted with a microphone and headphones so that riders are able to use the telephone function or access their personal music collection while on the road.
The innovative operating concept creates a network between the rider, the vehicle and the environment, which paves the way for numerous new interactive functions.
Building on the Mini Connected services already available in current Mini cars, specific features can be implemented by adding further smartphone applications. For example, the navigation function can be supplemented by a special map view in Google Maps to indicates the position of other scooters from the brand in the immediate vicinity. This provides a feature similar to social networks on the internet where riders who are friends can be identified and invited to come together by simply pressing a button. A greeting function has also been developed for the Mini Scooter E Concept to further strengthen the community appeal. An automated full-beam headlight function operates when two vehicles meet to strengthens this sense of community.
Two compartments on the inside of the windshield are available for stowing personal items. The study also incorporates an innovative aluminum design of the Mini Center Rail first presented in the Mini Countryman. The mounting rail configured inside the windshield extends downwards into the foot space, and the unique clip-on mechanism offers a range of options for transporting items that are required during the journey or at the rider's destination. These items are stored so that they easily come to hand.
Dedicated Center Rail specifications are offered for each version of the concept. The universal mounting system means that they can be switched between vehicles at any time or complemented by other products from the Mini Accessories range for the Mini Countryman. The accessories for the Center Rail include tailor-made holders from the Mini Collection for the helmet as well as for umbrellas, sunglasses and thermos flasks. An additional closed compartment and an expanded rain guard to protect the rider's legs can also be easily connected to the Centre Rail. A music player, calendar, stopwatch and tea cups specially designed for the Mini Scooter E Concept can also be attached to the Center Rail.
The electric drive unit, concealed beneath a painted cover inside the rear wheel, is powered by electricity supplied from a lithium-ion battery. Apart from the compact battery, a charging system and connecting cable are integrated snugly in the rear of the Mini Scooter E Concept. The charging cable has a plug that fits into any conventional domestic socket. This has the major advantage that topping up the energy reserve does not depend on a special charging station being available. Stop-offs for shopping or visiting a cafe can be used for hassle-free battery recharging.
Plugs and cables are accommodated underneath a cover similar to the round tank flap in a Mini car. After opening the illuminated flap, the plug and charging cable can be pulled out to a length of up to five meters and connected to the power system.
After the battery has been charged up, a button-operated spring mechanism ensures that the cable is retracted and coiled in a space-saving compartment.