It may be hard to believe, but it’s been 5 years since the first MINI-E was delivered to customers wanting to taste and test the future of electric cars. Anticipation is high for an all-electric MINI, but the time just isn’t right yet. Instead of bringing an all-electric Cooper to the LA Auto Show, MINI instead revealed the Citysurfer electric scooter concept.
Though it tops out at just 15 MPH and with a range of at most 15 miles, the MINI Citysurfer isn’t any threat Cooper sales, though it is an tantalizing alternative to owning a car in the big city. Weighing just 40 pounds, it can be folded up to fit the tiny trunk of a MINI Cooper, and it can even be charged while stashed away. That’s a nifty feature that makes it a lot more practical for going places where cars aren’t allowed, but scooters are. It’s designed to solve the “last mile” of travel many city dwellers are faced with when using public transportation.
In places like New York, Paris, and Beijing where car bans are talked about with increasing frequency, the idea of combining scooters and bikes with cars seems to be catching on with European automakers. It wasn’t long ago that Smart debuted its own line of e-bikes and scooters to supplement its little city cars, and apparently the engineers at MINI thought it was a good enough idea to take for themselves. As for the MINI-E, it seems to have dropped off the radar for now, though its reemergence in the next year would hardly shock me.
The question now is when will automakers ever actually start selling these pre-packaged transportation solutions?