BMW is no stranger to electrification, having released several plug-in hybrids and the diminutive i3 range-extended electric hatchback. Its budget brand Mini is in the same boat, as its current lineup does offer some electrification, and in just a couple weeks, we'll see its first electric car.
Mini announced on its website this week that the first electric Mini will debut on July 9. It will land in a fair few markets, according to Mini's site. Right now, preorders are open for France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. There is also a "stay in the loop" link available for buyers in Italy, Spain, the UK and the US.
, which will likely be the name it sports in production guise, back in March. The prototype we drove rocked the same sheet metal as the average Mini, albeit with bumpers lacking exhaust cutouts and a grille. The interior was covered, so we can't tell you much about it, except for the fact that it has an electronic parking brake. The battery pack lives in the transmission tunnel, so it doesn't eat into interior space, which is already at a premium in these baby Bimmers.
Mini hasn't divulged any specifics about the powertrain yet, but we do know that most of the electric running gear is plucked from the latest version of the BMW i3 electric city car. 60 miles per hour should arrive in between 7 and 8 seconds, and a DC fast charger will bring a depleted battery up to 80 percent in about 40 minutes.
The automaker only gave us a quick spin in the prototype, but it left us wanting seconds. It was nimble through the autocross course Mini put together, with some nicely weighted steering, easy-to-module brakes and -- of course -- plenty of all-electric torque that can be conjured up at a moment's notice. We can't wait to take a crack at Mini's EV once the camouflage comes off. Sales should start in the US by the end of the year.