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MINI is going green and so far we’ve only seen their electric concept when it debuted last summer. Since then we haven’t seen hide or hair of a test mule, until now.

CarScoop’s spy photographers managed to spot a camouflaged electric MINI prototype undergoing cold weather testing in Sweden and they took a few shots of it while the car was being transported on a truck in Munich. Known for its harsh winters, many manufacturers take to the country’s frozen tracks for data on how their vehicles will fair in the colder months. MINI is no different and their engineers are probably analyzing how the EV’s powertrain will handle the Northern Hemisphere’s colder months.

How did they know it was the MINI EV you ask? The automaker took the liberty of putting a decal on its side, proclaiming it to be an “electric test vehicle”. Of course the lack of exhaust pipes gave it away as well as a sealed front grille.

Looking at what’s not covered, we’re shown a body that’s almost identical to the gas powered two-door Mini Hardtop model. They even have that little hood vent even though there’s no need for one without an ICE engine. Though small features have been added to improve the prototypes aerodynamics including air extractor slot behind the front wheels.

Expected to hit showroom floors in 2019 as a 2020 model, we hoping to see a production ready prototype with at least 200 miles of range debut late this year or early next year.
 

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This is an important step in development because cold weather is hard on car batteries. I heard when lithium-ion batteries are exposed to cold temperatures, their performance suffers. When the car is all battery and electricity, MINI needs to make sure it'll last through multiple winter seasons.
 

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There are plenty of other EV's on the market and none of those seem to have issue handling the colder winter weather. I think on average its expected that the range of a typical EV to drop by about 20% during harsh winter conditions. Of course all of this is impacted by your heat usage and driving style.
 

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As long as what range gets reduced to is a range we can still commute with all while not being inconvenienced too much, I will be happy. Also, i think i speak for the broader EV community when I say that. Its even more of a reason for car makers to get range up to the high 200 to low 300 mile range. If cold weather slices that range in half then at least we can still do a lot of driving.
 

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Heating the battery and the cabin is where most of the range reduction is coming from and these winter testings could help MINI develop more efficient ways of heating both so it east up less electricity. OF course you could always warm up the car at home while it's plugged in to save range, but that isn't always the case.
Also good to see them test out winter tires on electric cars because more traction requires more energy to move.
 

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Yeah it certainly does make sense to advertise a 200+ mile range, when that's only applicable certain months throughout the year. I think for the most part consumers are away that electricity and cold weather don't go hand in hand, so its to be expected that you get less efficiency in the winter months. With the push for EV's I'm sure we'll see a lot of people opting for heated parking garages, as this would help alleviate this issue at least while your car is sitting.
 

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That could help companies draw in buyers in colder climates because they're the ones who has to swap in some fuel eating winter tires and crank up the heat. That drastically cuts into the range even if you warm up the car while it's plugged in. Fine for short commutes, but you never know what could happen in winter traffic, could be stuck for a long while.
 

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I wonder if with some new innovations around regenerative braking, if drivers will be able to counteract the additional energy usage during winter months for heat. I think currently on something such as the Leaf that on the highest settings regenerative breaking can generate up to 5% of a vehicles overall range. That's certainly not enough to make up for the 20% cut during the winter, but its a step.
 

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Its kind of odd that no EV automakers are addressing the efficiency decrease that's found during the winter months. I know there isn't much to be done in terms of making electricity cold friendly, but its hard to sell interested buyers on a product that only works at 100% 6-8 months out of the year.
 

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It's just expected that batteries discharge faster in cold temperatures and it's not really a new phenomenon limited to cars only. With how long batteries have been around, if they were going to fix this issue, I'd assume it'd be fixed by now.
 

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I bet as batteries get lighter or car makers find ways to cut weight elsewhere we will either see a temperature control system to prevent the degradation or just go straight to increasing range to a point there's no complicating the systems and we have more range than we need.
 

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Believe it or not, but you can actually buy heated battery blankets for your car. A lot of people who live up north in more isolated areas, rely on them to make sure that their cars turnover and continue to run in freezing temperatures. Not sure how much power they require to run however, as using electricity to try and save electricity seems unintuitive.
 

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It's just expected that batteries discharge faster in cold temperatures and it's not really a new phenomenon limited to cars only. With how long batteries have been around, if they were going to fix this issue, I'd assume it'd be fixed by now.
That seems to be the case and if you think about it controlling temperature and the impact from an external environment can have, can take up a lot. instead it seems that car makers are focusing on increasing range. 20% degradation of 150 mile range vs degradation from 300 mile range...the latter is so much that you almost wouldn't care about the degradation.
 
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