The BMW-owned brand has confirmed it is developing an electric version of its John Cooper Works performance models with the view to unleashing them on the road in future.
The push towards the electrification of the JCW models is seen as key to expanding the Mini brand.
It's not only about meeting stricter emissions standards, either, but also taking advantage of the increased interest in electric vehicles.
Mini says electric motors provide “new possibilities” for the JCW sub-brand. Given the performance of various electric performance cars – including the upcoming Porsche Taycan – there’s also the potential to offer more performance than is currently packaged in a JCW.
The most powerful JCW models currently on sale are powered by a 225kW/450Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine.
“With the Mini Electric, we’ve shown how well brand-typical driving enjoyment and electric mobility can be combined,” says head of the Mini brand, Bernd Körber.
“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.”
An electric JCW provides one major engineering challenge for Mini: weight.
Minis have always been relatively compact and lightweight to amplify their nimble handling, but battery packs that provide any sort of decent EV range are very heavy.
Key to the upcoming JCW electric models is a yet-to-be-revealed new electrical architecture.
Rather than a bespoke electric platform, Mini has hinted the architecture will be flexible, allowing for internal combustion engines as well as EV applications.
Indeed, despite the electric push, Mini says it will not walk away from the petrol engines that have long created that throaty excitement for pocket-rockets Minis.
The company says the JCW “extreme performance and genuine driving enjoyment will also be available with electric drive as well as combustion engines”.
“John Cooper Works models with conventional combustion engines will still continue to have an important role to play, to make sure we’re addressing the wishes and needs of performance enthusiasts all around the world,” says Körber.
“With this new focus on electric performance, we’re also creating the opportunity to sharpen the distinctive profile of the John Cooper Works brand more than ever before.”