That definitely refers to the powertrain. There is no point for MINI to have the same exterior design cues, it will just ruin the whole MINI brand picture. However, MINI EV won't share a lot of powertrain and battery features with the current model of i3. More likely MINI EV will be close to the next generation of i3.This is an interesting bit from him; "It carries a lot over from the i3."
I assume that refers to the powertrain and battery pack more than design. So maybe we'll see overlapping specs between the upcoming mini EV and the i3?