Two Mini concepts – the Rocketman and the Superleggera – still have a shot at production, and the Rocketman could be an EV.
The Superleggera roadster faces longer odds of being built, as explained by Mini product chief Ralph Mahler in an interview with Autocar.
“[The] roadster segment is small and demand is going down, with new markets opening up,” said Mahler. “The growth is not there, so it’s always a challenge.”
“It fits perfectly into the brand, but we’re a small [sales volume] car brand and have to be focused and know what we want to have,” Mahler continued. “The Superleggera is playing a role but no decisions.”
As far as the Rocketman, there’s a chance it could make it to market as a Mini version of parent company BMW’s i3 extended-range EV.
The i3 doesn’t take up a lot of space, and nor would a production version of the Rocketman. Mahler said of the Rocketman: “[it’s] inspiring us as of today, especially as an EV in the future.”
But he also tempered enthusiasm somewhat.
“It was something that was ahead of its time but is still inspiring,” Mahler told Autocar. “With a smaller car, it’s a bigger challenge. With Rocketman, and talking EV in the future, as the EV engine gets more portable, it’s give and take [for such a small EV].”
Still, there may be opportunity for a car even smaller than the current smallest Mini.
“We’re smallest in segment with our three-door hatch, but there is a segment below that,” Mahler said.