Concept cars usually don’t get an encore, but the Mini Vision Urbanaut electric van will. Mini plans to unveil a revised mockup of the Urbanaut in July at the DLD Summer conference in Munich.
The new version looks a bit more realistic than the first iteration of the Urbanaut, which was unveiled in November 2020. At 176 inches long, it’s about 6 inches shorter than the Volkswagen ID.4 and other current compact electric crossovers, and likely not much shorter than the much-anticipated, Microbus-Inspired VW ID. Buzz van.
Like the Buzz, the Urbanaut has a fold-out windshield, and an interior that can double as a living space. The interior also has a high proportion of renewable and recycled materials, according to a Mini press release. Designers also sought to conserve material by using fewer parts, and also eliminated chrome and leather.
Mini Vision Urbanaut concept – June 2021
Mini didn’t provide much detail on the powertrain, but parent BMW has said it will make the brand all-electric by the early 2030s.
Mini isn’t the only one to be dabbling with the possibility of an electric van. Startup Canoo plans one—a personal-use takeoff of its budget-priced delivery van. And the chances are slim of ever seeing the eBussy of our urbanites-to-Burning Man fantasies in the United States.
Porsche also concocted an electric-van concept in 2018, but the project never moved beyond the design phase. The van wasn’t even shown to the public until last year, when Porsche revealed a batch of secret concepts and prototypes it had developed over the years.