Electric Vehicles

MINI outlines its plans for new models, including EVs

All-electric MINIs account for 10 percent of all MINI sales.

Photo courtesy of MINI

MINI is a tiny car company with big plans. The automaker is planning to realign their model range focusing on improving drivetrain technology, vehicle segments, and services of the future. Committing to the crossover and premium compact segments and strengthening the company's market position in China are also on the roster. The heart of those plans is a shift toward electromobility.

"MINI was always the answer to very special challenges relating to individual mobility. And the willingness to reinvent the status quo continues to shape the brand to this day," commented Bernd Körber, Head of MINI. "Alongside electromobility, harnessing new target groups and sales markets will be crucially important for the future of MINI."

1959 Morris Mini-Minor MINI's history goes back a long time. Here, the 1959 Morris Mini-Minor.Photo courtesy of MINI

In the 20 years since the brand was relaunched, around four million vehicles have been produced at MINI's plan in Oxford, England. and delivered to more than 100 countries across the world.

The MINI lineup is now broader than ever before. The roster has expanded include the MINI Countryman in a very competitive vehicle class. About 40 percent of all the brand's vehicles sold across the world, are in this class. John Cooper Works versions of the cars account for approximately five percent of the total sales of the MINI brand. Electrified models are steadily gaining in popularity, traditionally amounting to five percent of the brand's total sales. That number jumped to 10 percent following the launch of the MINI Electric.

MINI has hinted that more efficient combustion engines (diesel and petrol) and additional electric vehicles are in the future. A completely electrified model family is on the horizon.

"We are pursuing the Power of Choice approach followed by the BMW Group through our broad range of advanced petrol and diesel engines, the plug-in hybrid system and all-electric drive, in order to meet the needs and aspirations of our customers throughout the world," said Körber. "This enables us to create the conditions for further growth in global automobile markets."

The future core portfolio of all-electric vehicles will include the MINI 3-Door Hatch, a new crossover model in the small-car segment, and a compact crossover model. The brand's small-car models and a crossover model in the compact segment will be available with internal combustion engines.

The new crossover model will only be offered with an all-electric drivetrain. The next-generation Mini Countryman will be available with both combustion engines and an electrified drivetrain.

In light of the upcoming changes, MINI is promising that MINI models will not lose their identity.

"It is part of our responsibility to the brand and the community to preserve the unique character of MINI," says Bernd Körber. "That is why every new model from our brand in future will be unmistakably a MINI."

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Little Sesame's Volkswagen Bus allows the restaurant's chefs to travel the country in search of new flavors.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Holiday shoppers this year, once again, have shopping small on the mind. For some businesses, their idea of small is smaller than most. From a hummus shop to a coffee shop, to a mobile bookstore, many small business owners rely on vintage Volkswagen products to help their businesses run.

Little Sesame

Little Sesame Volkswagen Bus

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

In 2015, chefs Nick Wiseman and Ronen Tenne opened their hummus shop in Washington, D.C. They didn't just want another restaurant, they wanted to create a different way of doing business than they'd experienced in some of the New York City area kitchens they'd cooked in over the years. They wanted travel.

In order to inspire new flavors , Wiseman and Tenne hop into their robin's egg blue 1978 Volkswagen Bus and explore the country. Their current Bowl of the Week brings in autumn and wintertime flavors with ingredients like maple roasted winter squash, pomegranate molasses, crispy chickpeas, za'ata, and herbs.

The restaurant, with locations in the Golden Triangle and Chinatown, is currently open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They offer catering and meal kits as well as online ordering for pickup and delivery.

Dom's Coffee

In Farmington Valley, Connecticut, a European-style coffee shop sits on a strip of real estate next to buildings similar to what you'd find in nearly anyone's hometown - a car dealership and a church. The brick-and-mortar shop was opened by Andrius Plankis and Asta Plankiene in May 2015, two years after the couple emigrated to the U.S. from Lithuania.

In addition to their shop, they run a fully-equipped mobile espresso bar out of the back of a Volkswagen Atlas R-Line. Their specialty is artistically crafted drinks including espressos, affogatos, specialty lattes, cold brews, and hot chocolates.

The Cincy Book Bus

The Cincy Book Bus

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

After retiring from 25 years of teaching, Melanie Moore decided it was time to pursue her dream: opening a bookstore. But she didn't just want to own the shop around the corner, she wanted to have a business that would work to get books into the hands of children that need them the most. Just as she was about to sign a lease for a storefront, she got cold feet.

Inspired by a novel centered around a fictional, female horse-drawn carriage bookseller, Moore decided to launch the Cincy Book Bus – a mobile bookstore – out of the bed of her husband's teal 1962 Volkswagen Transporter. The van holds about 150 books, and Moore regularly rotates titles to cater to her audiences.

Moore dedicates her profits to stocking classroom libraries.

While these three businesses are small, three large corporations (including Nike) were founded from humble beginnings thanks in no small part to their Volkswagens. Click here to read their stories.

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The McLaren Senna GTR is ready for the track but the LEGO Technic version is ready for your office shelf.

Photo courtesy of LEGO

The latest model to join the LEGO Technic family is a track-ready take one of the most beloved supercars of all time. The LEGO Technic McLaren Senna GTR is extreme, just like its real life namesake. The model is the first McLaren to get the Technic treatment.

It's an 830-piece model is designed for builders ages 10 and above. Its real life version was designed for track enthusiasts. The Senna GTR takes the athleticism of the Senna supercar a step further with a vehicle, "designed to deliver the most extreme, raw and engaging driving experience possible," according to the super luxury automaker. They call the vehicle "mind-bendingly fast", which makes it a perfect fit for a track day.

LEGO Technic McLaren Senna GTR The box will reach shelves in January.Photo courtesy of LEGO

The beating heart of the McLaren Senna GTR is a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that achieves approximately 813 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Its carbon fiber body weighs just 2619 pounds and rides on a motorsports chassis.

The total engineering package is designed to deliver a raw racing experience. It's beyond engaging. The well-engineered wing helps you ride the line between control and out of control and, quite possibly, life and death.

LEGO hasn't pushed its model to that extreme, but many of its parts hold true to the spirit of the car. It features a V8 with moving pistons, an aerodynamic body style, dihedral doors, and a one-of-a-kind blue livery. The model is 12 inches long when completed.

"The team responsible for the design of the McLaren Senna GTR worked incredibly closely with their design counterparts at the LEGO Group to capture the extreme looks, excitement and essence of such an incredible supercar for LEGO Technic builders," said Robert Melville, Design Director McLaren Automotive. "Just like the real thing, the LEGO model is packed full of incredible details from the rear spoiler to the moving pistons in the V8 engine to the dihedral doors meaning that we're as proud of the model as we are of the real car."

LEGO Technic McLaren Senna GTR The model features dihedral doors.Photo courtesy of LEGO

The LEGO Technic McLaren Senna GTR will be launched globally from January 1, 2021 from LEGO.com, LEGO stores and other retailers globally, and participating McLaren retailers, with a recommended retailer price of $49,99.

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