News: Mini Developing Electric John Cooper Works Concepts

The Mini Cooper SE is getting a punchier version

Mini Electric John Cooper Works Prototype
Mini revealed it is working on an electric John Cooper Works Mini, and it looks like they’re going right to the top with a GP. (Photos: Mini)

We’ll be the first to admit it: The TFL staff loves, loves, loves us some Minis. From a classic, right-hand-drive Rover Mini to a 2010 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works (JCW) and even the “cheapest” Mini Cooper JCW GP in America, they’re always a blast to drive. We even enjoyed the all-electric Mini Cooper SE. Electric cars are becoming more and more in vogue. As that trend continues, more automakers are expanding their EV presence into quick and fun performance variants. That’s what we have here with Mini, who announced Wednesday that they’re working on an electric John Cooper Works model.

Now, the company did not announce any technical details to go with that. Here’s the sum of what Mini brand head Bernd Körber said on the matter:

With the MINI Electric, we’ve shown how well brand-typical driving enjoyment and electric mobility can be combined. Now it’s time to translate the passion for performance of the John Cooper Works brand to electromobility. That’s why we’re working to develop concepts for electric John Cooper Works models.

Mini Electric John Cooper Works Prototype

An electric John Cooper Works GP?

Marketing speak aside, we don’t really have an electric hot hatch yet. At the moment, the current hot Mini JCW manages 301 horsepower from its 2.0-liter engine. With 331 lb-ft of torque, it manages quite a bit of power in such a small package. Couple the instantaneous torque to a small car, though, and this could be one amazing little road rocket. At the very least, it could create a more exciting experience if all that torque sends the front tires scrabbling for grip.

Mini did make clear in their announcement that they’re not abandoning the internal combustion engine, despite an electric John Cooper Works model in the wings. The brand plans to launch its electric variants alongside the gas-powered models. On that basis, you will have a choice, though it remains to be seen what cranking up performance will do to the EV’s range. Mind you, the standard Mini Cooper SE manages about 110 miles on a charge. With similar packaging and more power, engineers will likely have to work out better energy density in the battery cell to make an electric John Cooper Works anything more than a literal track toy. The BMW i3 to which the Mini Cooper SE is related ekes 153 miles out of its 42.2-kWh battery (to the Mini’s 32.64-kWh), so that could be a solution.

Mini should provide more details on the real-world specs sometime soon. In the meantime, check out more on the EV Mini we already have below: