The upcoming Mini Plug-in Hybrid based on the next-gen Countryman that’s expected to debut next month at the Los Angeles Auto Show has been shown. This gas-electric version is rumored to launch sometime early next year as a 2018. The camouflaged images of the division’s first plug-in were accompanied by some insights on from Mini brand boss Sebastian Mackensen and Peter Wolf who heads up series management for Mini.

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“With this model we want to convince Mini customers of the benefits of hybrid drive,” says Mackensen, “and impress everyone who already has hybrid driving experience with Mini’s unique go-kart driving feel.” While stopping short of detailing the powertrain elements, he said the Mini plug-in mates a gasoline engine driving the front wheels with an electric motor at the rear. It's similar to the setup found in BMW’s Euro-only 2 Series Active Tourer plug-in that teams a 134-horsepower 1.5-liter/3-cylinder turbo engine with an 87-horse motor energized by a 7.6 kWh battery pack located beneath the rear seat. The pack gives it about 25 miles of pure EV range. Here too, the eDrive elements have been positioned as low as possible to improve overall balance of the vehicle dropping its center of gravity.

Same Mini chassis

In the new Mini PHEV, the dual powertrains are connected by an intelligent energy management system linked to its Dynamic Stability Control system to ensure optimum traction under all driving conditions. Wolf notes the Plug-in model has the same chassis and suspension characteristics as its conventional counterpart to preserve all of the signature Mini handling character. The Mini Hybrid starts out in pure electric mode; the engine only kicks in based on vehicle speed and/or when the accelerator is pressed with sufficient intensity to bring it to life. Three basic drive selections are available. Auto eDrive will permit electric-only speeds up to 50 mph and Max eDrive is good for zero-emission velocity up to 78 mph while the engine-only Save Battery mode helps store energy for extended EV driving. More information is promised closer to the Mini Countryman Plug-in Hybrid on-sale date as well as news about an upcoming pure electric Mini expected in 2019.

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