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 PacesetterThe 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

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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Updated EV

2023 Nissan Leaf pricing announced

The Leaf got a mild facelift for 2023.

Nissan

Nissan is nearing the release of the Ariya, its first new EV in several years. Even so, the brand hasn't forgotten about its first mass-market EV, the Leaf. It was an early entrant in the space, and has been an efficient, affordable, commuter car for over a decade. The car got a mild facelift for 2023, with updated wheels and exterior styling accents. Today, Nissan announced pricing for the Leaf, which starts at just under $29,000.

2023 Nissan LeafThe Leaf feels lively, despite middling power numbers.Nissan

The base Leaf comes with a 40-kWh battery capable of delivering a 149-mile range. Its 110-kW electric motor produces 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The Leaf SV Plus features a 60-kWh battery for a range of 212 miles. It comes with a 160-kW motor that makes 214 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. Nissan backs all Leaf models with an eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty.

ProPilot Assist comes standard for the Leaf SV Plus, and brings a full suite of advanced driver aids that include adaptive cruise control, driver alertness features, and a surround-view monitor. All Leaf models get Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warnings, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, automatic high beams, and rear automatic braking.

2023 Nissan LeafThe Leaf SV Plus offers up to 212 miles of range.Nissan

The new Leaf starts at $28,895, which includes a $1,095 destination charge. The Leaf SV Plus starts at $36,895. The 2023 Nissan Leaf is on sale now, and may be eligible for federal tax credits of up to $7,500. Depending on where you live, you may also be able to receive a state tax credit or other incentives.

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The EQB lands this summer with a not-so-bad starting price.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is pressing ahead with its electrification goals. Following the release of the EQS flagship electric sedan last year, the automaker is readying the EQB, an electric SUV with up to seven seats. Today, Mercedes announced pricing for the vehicle, and it's surprisingly reasonable. Two trim levels will be offered for the EQB in the United States: Exclusive and Pinnacle, and wecould see an AMG variant at some point down the road.

The EQB comes in two variants, including the EQB 300 and EQB 350, both of which come with all-wheel drive. The EQB 300 offers 225 horsepower and the 350 delivers 288 ponies. Those aren't super-serious numbers and they don't have to be. The EQB competes with vehicles like the Volkswagen ID.4, so mind-blowing performance isn't exactly the goal. Mercedes hasn't given range estimates yet, but they should fall in line with the competition.

2023 Mercedes-Benz EQBThe EQB will come in two powertrain variants, each with two trims.Mercedes-Benz

The SUV comes standard with a 10.25-inch configurable digital gauge cluster and a 10.25-inch touchscreen. Mercedes includes a good list of standard safety features, including lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and active brake assist. Additionally, the EQB's navigation system routes the vehicle for the best efficiency and can help locate charging stations.

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB 300 starts at $56,800, including a $1,050 destination charge. A range-topping Pinnacle trim is available for $59,350. The EQB 350 starts at $60,350. Mercedes says the SUV will go on sale in summer 2022.

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