Mini envisions its promised fifth volume model — an electric vehicle — as a three-door urban mobility pacesetter.
With the production vehicle due in 2019, Mini is introducing an electric concept as a preview at the Frankfurt auto show this month. The electric Mini is part of parent BMW Group's growing electrification strategy.
The Mini Electric Concept has the brand's "characteristic go-kart feeling and powerful electric motor" providing a fun-to-drive quality in a compact and agile package suitable for the city, Mini said in a statement.
The car combines aerodynamic features designed to minimize drag and increase range with more familiar design elements that point to a sporty drive.
The reduced need for cooling allowed Mini to close off the grille for better aerodynamic performance, but the grille keeps the brand's hexagonal shape to remain recognizable as a Mini.
The production EV is expected to be built at Mini's plant in Oxford, England, using a drivetrain supplied from Germany.
No details have been given on the electric powertrain, but Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW board member responsible for Mini, said last year the car will come with next-generation batteries small enough to fit into a Mini without compromising range.
Though no sales projections have been given, Mini executives say the EV will be a volume player in the brand's lineup. Mini needs a volume boost in the U.S. The brand's sales here have dropped after hitting a peak of 66,502 vehicles in 2013. Mini sold 52,030 vehicles in 2016 in the U.S.
Nick Gibbs contributed to this report.