The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini Electric concept

Mini built an electric prototype in 2009 to help parent company BMW gather the data it needed to develop the i3, but it didn’t receive its own battery-powered model in return. The i3’s technology will finally trickle down to the Mini family when the British firm releases its first series-produced electric car, the Cooper SE, in 2019.

We got our first look at the Cooper SE when Mini introduced a concept car named simply Electric (pictured) during the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show. The production version will look markedly less futuristic than the design study; Mini took its styling in a more low-key direction. It will nonetheless stand out from its gasoline-powered counterpart with a powertrain-specific front end, and a few additional exclusive touches like the design of the alloy wheels. It will ride a little bit taller, too, because engineers needed to lift the body to stuff a battery under it.

The electric powertrain consists of a motor shared with the i3, according to British magazine Autocar, and a lithium-ion battery pack mounted under the passenger compartment and in the space formerly occupied by the fuel tank. The motor zaps the front wheels with 181 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque, which is enough for a zero-to-60 mph sprint in the mid-seven-second range. Range remains up in the air, but don’t expect to travel for more than 200 miles on a single charge.

There are pros and cons associated with adding a battery pack to a small hatchback like the Mini. On one hand, the pack is heavy; it adds 286 pounds to the car, which is not an insignificant amount. On the other hand, it lowers the car’s center of gravity and places more of the weight over the rear axle. What this means in real-world conditions — and how it affects the hatchback’s famous go-kart-like handling — remains to be seen. The instant torque provided by the electric motor should make it quick off the line, however.

The 2020 Mini Cooper SE will make its global debut in July and production will begin in England before the end of the year. Mini hasn’t released pricing information yet but we expect the model will cost approximately $30,000 before federal incentives enter the equation. One of its main rivals will be the battery-electric, second-generation Fiat 500 that will make its debut in 2020.

Cars

Volkswagen prepares its electric ID R race car for its toughest challenge yet

The Volkswagen ID R electric race car will head to the Nürburgring to set a lap record. With Romain Dumas at the wheel, the ID R will try to become the fastest electric car around the grueling, 12.9-mile long track.
Cars

Qiantu K50 electric sports car was designed in China, will be built in the U.S.

The Qiantu K50 is a Chinese electric sports car that will be marketed in the United States by California-based Mullen Technologies. The carbon-fiber bodied, 402-horsepower K50 is expected to go on sale in 2020.
Cars

Electric truck maker Rivian scores $500 million investment from Ford

Alongside Amazon, Rivian can now count Ford as one of its backers. The Blue Oval will invest $500 million in Rivian, and will use the company's "skateboard" chassis as the basis for a future electric vehicle.
Cars

This vintage Ford Bronco off-roader has a modern electric powertrain

Zero Labs took a classic Ford Bronco and replaced its gasoline engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. So you get the style and off-road capability of a Bronco, but with zero emissions.
Cars

Tesla Model S and Model X charge faster and go farther with the same battery

An all-new drivetrain for the Tesla Model S and X enables the EVs to travel farther per charge than the previous design. Tesla Model S Long Range sedans have a 370-mile range and Model X Long Range SUVs can travel 325 miles per EPA cycle.
Cars

2019 Ford F-150 RTR gets a light dose of off-road, style upgrades

Vaughn Gittin Jr.'s RTR Vehicles is turning its attention to the 2019 Ford F-150 pickup truck. RTR gave Ford's bestseller new suspension components and tires, as well as more extroverted exterior styling.
Emerging Tech

Japanese taxis will use facial recognition to target you with ads as you ride

A Japanese startup is trying to reinvent in-taxi advertising by using facial recognition technology to identify the key characteristics of riders and then presenting them with appropriate ads.
Cars

The best diagnostic adapters monitor your car so you don't have to

Sometimes called dongles, the best car adapters will tell you what's wrong under the hood while help you keep tabs on your family and routine maintenance.
Cars

Nvidia agrees with Tesla’s take on self-driving cars, but corrects specifics

Nvidia vice president Rob Csongor agreed with broad statements by Elon Musk at Tesla's April 22 Autonomy Investor Day. Csongor then took exception to what he termed were inaccuracies about Nvidia's self-driving car chip.
Cars

Stop backing into your neighbor's car with the best backup cameras

The right backup camera will allow you to better avoid vehicles and other obstacles without taking your eyes off the road, rendering "sorry, I hit your car!" notes a thing of the past. Here are our current favorites.
Mobile

Waze vs. Google Maps: Which map app should you be using?

Waze and Google Maps are two of the most popular apps for those looking for turn-by-turn navigation, yet there are some notable differences to point out. Here, we examine both to decide which offers the best feature set.
Business

Tesla posts $702M Q1 loss as deliveries fall sharply; Musk promises turnaround

Tesla lost $702 million during the first quarter of 2019 as deliveries fell sharply, and demand for the Model X and the Model S flattened. The company predicts it will again lose money in the second quarter.
Cars

Ambitious but not rubbish: The best Top Gear episodes

Since its relaunch in 2002, Top Gear has become required viewing for any serious gearhead. The great moments from this show may seem too numerous to count, but we've managed to pick some of the highlights from the first 26 seasons.
Cars

The best hybrid cars save on fuel without sacrificing fun

The best hybrid cars are fuel-efficient and all the rage, but which one should you buy? We’ve broken through the noise to let you know the best hybrid, and a few interesting alternatives from different categories.