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Mini’s ’Go-Kart Fun’ Won’t Go Away With EVs: Mini Exec

All EVs feel fast so handling and steering are more important to Mini.
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An electric Mini Cooper John Cooper Works is coming. It’s inevitable at this point, following the release of the new electric Mini. It may not hit the road anytime soon but it’s coming. “Of course, our objective is always to bring John Cooper Works into the electric era,” said Global head of Mini products, Christian Wehner, according to Motor1. However, making it feel like a proper JCW is a different story, since all performance electric vehicles tend to feel similar. That’s why Mini needs to separate its electric JCW in other ways.

“All electric cars have good acceleration,” said Wehner. “But do all of these electric cars deliver go-kart-fun? Definitely not. Because other things come into play; the weight of the car, the steering of the car, how it feels to sit in the car.”

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Wehner is only confirming what we, as car enthusiasts, already know. Since all electric motors deliver easy, seamless, vibrationless performance, stomping the go-pedal in a Kia EV6 isn’t perceptively different than doing so in a Tesla Model 3, Audi e-tron GT, or Mercedes EQS. The rate at which the power is delivered can vary but the actual delivery itself is pretty much the same—silky smooth and whisper quiet.

I’ve long said that Mini is one of the brands most perfectly suited to electrification because its engines aren’t what makes it special. Minis have always been fun because of their nimble handling and sharp steering, so adding punchier electric performance only enhances that experience. Hearing Mini execs acknowledge that should be encouraging to the brand’s faithful fans.

Thankfully, if you’re a Mini fan that’s still clinging to internal combustion, fret not, as piston-powered JCWs aren’t dead just yet.

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“We’ve been talking about being more electrified or being electrified by the early 2030s,” said Mike Peyton, Vice President of Mini USA. “That still means we’ve got several years, particularly in North America, as well, because the demand is there for gasoline JCWs.”

Mini even hinted at a potential manual transmission for upcoming EVs, with a Mini exec calling the possibility of a manual EV “a question we’re asking.” A few years ago, I drove a classic Mini EV conversion that used a functional four-speed manual transmission and, while completely unnecessary, it was a lot of fun.

No electric Mini needs rocket-ship performance, such as you’ll find in a Tesla Model 3 Performance. Instead, it needs just enough torquey acceleration to compliment its go-kart handling and we’re happy to hear that Mini agrees.

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