Concept Cars

Meet the MINI Electric Pacesetter, an EV inspired by John Cooper Works racing history ​

The MINI Electric Pacesetter pushes the limits of what in means to be part of the John Cooper Works family.

Photo courtesy of MINI

The stage is set. On April 10, 2021 the new season of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race series will have its third race of the year in Rome. Leading the pack will be none other than the MINI Electric Pacesetter. The car was created as part of a partnership between MINI Design, BMW Motorsport, the FIA, and the Formula E.

The electric MINI on the market today isn't a sporty version of the car. Instead, the most performance-focused MINIs are gas-powered John Cooper Works models. The MINI Electric Pacesetter combines the electric powertrain of production cars with the sports car-like dynamics of the JCW cars.

"We have already shown how well driving fun and electric mobility go together with the MINI Electric," says Bernd Körber, Head of MINI. "However, the MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW goes at least a step further and blends the performance character of the John Cooper Works brand with electric mobility.

MINI Electric Pacesetter The MINI Electric has gotten a track-ready makeover.Photo courtesy of MINI

The model is the Safety Car for Formula E and not intended to be driven on public roads.

The exterior of the car has been purpose-built for life on the track. Engineers and designers from BMW Motorsport worked to develop the form to the wheel arches and front and rear aprons, and initiated weight-saving measures. Still, the MINI is a MINI. There's circular headlights and a hexagonal grille though the grille has been blanked off and the MINI Electric logo been added.

Below the grille are apertures for brake cooling. The Safety Car's white flashing lights are integrated harmoniously into the hood. Classic hood stripes extends from front to back over the roof.

More sport scar-like details include accentuated spats and sporty side skirts. The car's larger wheels nearly fill the arches. The spats and spoilers have been 3D printed from recycled carbon fiber. Yellow accent lines showcase the car's aerodynamic edges.

MINI Electric Pacesetter

Photo courtesy of MINI

It wears a matte silver body color that extends from the center point to the rear. The front is covered in a high-gloss wrap with a two-stage colour gradient – from Highspeed Orange to Curbside Red metallic – that covers the rest of the body to the rear. The car's flanks are adorned with a checkered flag-inspired pattern design.

Because it is a Safety Car, the model also sports regulations-specific and sponsor-related graphics.

The whole rig rides on lightweight 18-inch forged wheels in bi-colour black-neon/orange design.

MINI has stripped the car's interior down to its essentials with only the front seats remaining. The driver's area features a six-point safety harness, minimalist steering wheel, and a digital instrument cluster. Carbon fiber appointments anoint the area replacing heavier materials traditionally found on MINI passenger cars.

Pared-back carbon-fibre door panels with window and door openers contain cloth straps to make closing the doors easier. There's also a welded-in roll cage.

The drive system of the car is the same as what is in the MINI electric. It produces 135 kilowatts of horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque. It can get from zero to 62 mph in 6.7 seconds and zero to 37 mph in 3.6 seconds. There's race-spec suspension control arm mountings, four-piston brakes and wheels from the MINI John Cooper Works GP, and Michelin Pilot Sport tires as well.

This may be more than just a concept car. MINI has been teasing its future with forward looking statements regarding going all-electric but promising to not lose the JCW identity along the way.

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New electric luxury vehicles

Three new Mercedes-Benz EVs we can't wait to see

Mercedes showed off its electric future at the 2021 IAA Mobility show in Germany.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is going electric, and though it only recently announced its firm plans to do so, it already seems that the German automaker is moving quickly toward that goal. At the 2021 IAA Mobility show in Munich, Mercedes showed off some of its upcoming electrified products. We've seen the EQS, a flagship electric sedan, but three newcomers made an appearance at the show.


Mercedes-Benz EQB EQB will be Mercedes' electric family SUV.Mercedes-Benz


EQB

EQB is the brand's family-sized SUV, offering seating for up to seven people. A long wheelbase of 111.3 inches and adjustable second-row seating allows more interior space for people and gear. Mercedes says the EQB will offer two powertrain configurations: The EQB 300 4MATIC will get 225 horsepower and the EQB 350 4MATIC will sport 288 horsepower. A front-wheel drive configuration will go on sale later and a long-range model will follow.


Mercedes-Benz Concept EQG The EQG will eventually become the brand's electric off-roader.Mercedes-Benz


EQG

Concept EQG is a preview of the eventual electrification of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, its boxy, upper-crust off-roader. This concept is far closer to a design exercise than something we'll actually see in production, but it's an interesting demonstration, nonetheless. With 22-inch wheels, wild exterior lighting touches, and what the automaker says will be legendary off-road abilities, the EQG will be an exciting vehicle when it does make an appearance.


Mercedes-Benz EQE EQE will follow the EQS as a smaller, sportier electric sedan in 2022.Mercedes-Benz


EQE

EQE is the second car to use Mercedes' EVA2 electric architecture, following the EQS sedan. The car is currently scheduled for a staggered release in mid-2022 and will feature a more compact and sportier design than its predecessor. Mercedes says that the car will be available with either 19- or 21-inch wheels, and notes that its size is comparable to the current CLS coupe-sedan. The car offers an impressive range of up to 410 miles on a single charge from its 90kWh battery and special charging capabilities through the Mercedes me Charge network.

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The Roadster's specs are impressive, to say the least.

Tesla

Elon Musk took to a stage in late 2017 to announce a new product, the second-generation Tesla Roadster, and the numbers were impressive, even for a guy known to casually drop massive bombshells in 160 characters or less on Twitter. He pledged a 620-mile range and a 0-60 mph time in 1.9 seconds for the car – impressive specs, to be sure. When Musk unveiled the car, production was scheduled to commence some time in 2020, but as we all now know, last year wasn't a banner year for car manufacturing. In January, he pushed that date back to 2022, but the timeline has slipped again - into 2023 at this point - and that's only if everything goes smoothly between now and then.


Tesla Roadster Supply chain issues have caused delays in the Roadster's release.Tesla


Responding to a tweet on Wednesday, Musk stated that "assuming 2022 is not mega drama, new Roadster should ship in 2023." That's a pretty big asterisk, given how things have been going over the last 18 months. It's not surprising, though, and Musk acknowledges what we've known for some time now: The global supply chain is a mess, thanks to microchip shortages and pandemic-related closures and delays. "2021 has been the year of super crazy supply chain shortages," he said, admitting that "it wouldn't matter if we had 17 new products, as none would ship." Again, it's not surprising, but it is most likely frustrating for reservation holders, who've plopped down anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000 to hold an order for the Roadster.




Tesla is far from being the only automaker to experience delays, but even if we assume that the rest of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 go smoothly, there's still a lot that can happen. All of Tesla's suppliers would have to get their ducks in a row and there can be no COVID-related production delays. That would also peg 2022 as one of the automaker's flagship years for product releases, with both the Semi and Cybertruck on the schedule. It's possible, but far from guaranteed, that all of those pieces fall into place, making Tesla's 2022 a banner year. As for the Roadster, 2023 could be the year that we're all blown away by its range and acceleration, but recent history suggests that anything can happen at any time, so we won't be holding our breath.

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