Mini Spied Testing AWD Hybrid in the Snow

The Mini Cooper may be one of the smallest vehicles on the road today, but company engineers are apparently having no trouble cramming additional drivetrain components into the model. A Mini Cooper S was recently spotted bearing what appears to be an AWD electric motor paired to the existing internal combustion setup.

Automakers often try to lead us astray with unusual disguises and markings on their test vehicles, but the Hybrid sticker attached to the side of this Cooper S appears to be legitimate. Upon close examination of the on the spy photos shot by the folks at Motor Trend, the test Cooper appears to be sporting a rear-mounted electric powertrain driving the rear wheels. In combination with the standard front-engine, front-wheel-drive setup, the two powertrains give the car some flexibility. Eliminating the need for a driveshaft or transfer case, the independent powertrains will likely be utilized depending on the demands of the driver. The electric motor can be called upon in stop and go traffic or when slippery conditions require it.

However, given the Mini's size we can't help but to wonder where it's planned to stuff the requisite battery pack needed for such a setup. Motor Trend suggests the Mini hybrid could be one of the first vehicles to utilize super capacitors -- the highly-efficient energy storage modules pack a higher density than lithium-ion batteries and appear to be the next big advancement in electric vehicles.

In many consumers' eyes, Mini is already pushing the envelope with its premium prices. Do you think Mini would have any success with a hybrid Cooper? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Source: Motor Trend

David
What an excellent idea! Flip a switch & go in snow!

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