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Mini Aceman previews upcoming Chinese-made electric SUV

John Law

After committing to axe combustion engines from 2025, Mini has shown off its latest electric-only concept with an eye towards sustainability

The Mini Aceman concept revealed this week in Germany gives us our best look yet at the likely design of the British brand’s future electric crossovers.

Mini chose to show off the Aceman not at a glitzy motor show like Geneva or New York, but instead to a different audience at the Gamescon video game convention in Düsseldorf, Germany.

The Aceman pushes sustainability features to the fore, with no chrome or leather used in the construction of the vehicle – and this is a battery-electric vehicle set to be built alongside the next fully-electric Mini at the joint BMW-Brilliance plant in Shenyang, China.

Mini’s Aceman concept is all about sustainability

This concept also debuts an evolution of Mini’s interior design with new circular touchscreen and funky interior fabrics. 

The concept is about the same length as a five-door Mini hatch and much smaller than the current Countryman SUV. The Aceman measures 4050mm long, though its generous 1990mm width and 1590mm height give it Mini’s signature bulldog stance. 

Stefanie Wurst, who holds the role of head of Mini at BMW, said that the Aceman would live up to the brand’s classic “go-kart feel” while promising “a minimal environmental footprint.”

What’s special about the Aceman’s design?

This is a distinctly Mini product, with head of design Adrian Van Hooydonk leaning into Mini’s heritage with the octagonal grille motif that is now closed off and illuminated. 

The Aceman has a light-up grille surround and funky paint job

Funky colours are back with the concept car wearing ‘icy sunglow green’ duco with dark green contrast panels around its lower portions. 

As a commitment to sustainability there is no chrome on the Aceman’s exterior, meaning blacked-out door handles, window surrounds and badges. 

Instead, to catch the eyes of passers-by the Aceman gets sharp LED daytime running lights, vertically stacked taillights and a funky welcome animation as you approach it.

How about the Aceman’s cabin?

If you think the exterior is striking, it’s the interior where Mini has focused on breaking ground.

Inside the Aceman is very futuristic

The Aceman’s tombstone seats are upholstered in eyecatching fabrics that Mini says is a mix of: “textile flat knit, velvet velour and waffle weave, an over-dimensional houndstooth pattern and embroidered X and O graphics.”

As it does outside, the Aceman integrates a central, circular touchscreen as a look back to the original Mini’s speedometer location. This is now a circular, frameless OLED display running a new, Android based operating system – a first for Mini. There’s also a digital driver’s display with new graphics for the brand. 

The Aceman’s infotainment system supports augmented reality navigation direction with ‘surprising moments’ built into the system. There are several display modes including Personal and Vivid. 

Mini promises no leather inside, and no chrome anywhere on the Aceman

Mini also says that the Aceman’s small size doesn’t preclude it from being able to carry five adults in comfort – space efficiency was, after all, a hallmark of the original Mini.

What does the Aceman mean for Mini?

Following the brand’s pledge to release only electric models from 2025 onwards, the Aceman gives a taste into what we can expect in the next 3-5 years. 

As for its underpinnings, it’s possible that when the Aceman comes to fruition it will adopt BMW’s ‘Der Neue Klasse’ architecture, an electric-only platform that is likely to kick off its use in 2025 under BMW products. 

The Aceman shows where Mini is headed in the next decade

However, what’s more likely is that the production version of the Aceman will adopt the same, electric-only platform slated for the forthcoming Mini hatch.

As for range and battery size, Mini’s focus on the Aceman being suitable for urban environments could see it released with between 300-400km of range, with a battery size of around 50kWh.

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