MINI Insider

Sustainibility header

On the way to sustainable mobility. 

8 facts on how this works at MINI.

BIG LOVE FOR THE PLANET. From green electricity to car sharing and visionary vehicles: sustainable mobility has many facets. Check out 8 interesting facts about MINI’s progress in this arena – and how British fashion designer Paul Smith fits into the picture.

When they think of sustainable mobility, most people think of electric cars. And they’re not wrong to think that way. But the key to true sustainability lies in the details. This applies to both manufacturing vehicles (Read more: 8 figures for the future: Our path to sustainable manufacturing) and driving them. 

All of us can do so much more to drive conscientiously and considerately for a more sustainable future. Read on to see what MINI is doing to advance sustainability and how MINI drivers can lower their personal climate footprint. 

DRIVING GREENER WITH GREEN ELECTRICITY.

Buying an electric vehicle (EV) is a key step towards more sustainable personal mobility, even though EVs have a poorer carbon footprint before they are put to use. This is because the manufacturing of EVs is a more energy-intensive process than producing traditional petrol cars.  Once you start driving them, however, they quickly prove to be better for the environment. So when exactly do they become greener than petrol cars?

It greatly depends on the type of electricity used to charge the battery. A comparison between the fully electric MINI Cooper SE and the petrol MINI Cooper S illustrates the difference quite clearly. Global warming potential serves as the benchmark.

  • If you charge your MINI Cooper SE with the prevalent mix of electricity in the EU (up to 37 per cent from fossil fuels, it will have a better (lower) climate-warming potential than the MINI Cooper S after 30,000 kilometres (around 18,600 miles).
  • If the battery is charged using green electricity, the MINI Cooper SE overtakes the S in just 19,000 kilometres (around 11,800 miles).

Over the course of its life, the MINI Cooper SE has 40% lower climate warming potential versus the MINI Cooper S if an EU power mix is used and 70% lower potential if renewable energy is used.  

MINI Cooper SE: Energy consumption in kWh/100 km combined: 17.6 – 15.2 (WLTP); Fuel consumption in l/100 km combined: 0, CO2 emissions in g/km combined: 0, electric range in km: 234 - 203 (WLTP), MINI Cooper S 3-Door Hatch: Official fuel consumption combined in l/100 km: 6.6 – 6.2 (WLTP), Official CO2 emission combined in g/km: 151 – 140 (WLTP)
MINI Cooper SE Countryman All4: Energy consumption in kWh/100 km combined: 15.9 – 14.8 (WLTP), Fuel consumption in l/100 km combined: 2.1 – 1.7, CO2 emissions in g/km combined: 47-39 (WLTP)

THE MINI FLEET TURNS GREEN. 

We have set ourselves an ambitious goal: by 2030 all models are to be fully electric. The last new MINI model with a combustion engine will be introduced in 2025.

We have made significant progress towards creating a more sustainable fleet of cars. By 2019 the MINI Countryman plug-in hybrid already accounted for five per cent of all MINI vehicles sold. With the launch of the MINI Cooper SE in 2020, the share of electric models rose to 15 per cent in the first half of 2021. Demand for these fully electric models is so great that MINI has had to double its production capacities.

Tiny forest. Big impact.

Using small spaces creatively is tightly ingrained in MINI’s DNA. And now our goal is to do this with regards to sustainability as well. That’s why a tiny forest arose directly next to the MINI production plant in Swindon, England. MINI has joined up with the environmental organisation Earthwatch Europe in support of its Tiny Forest initiative.

What exactly is a Tiny Forest? 600 native trees are planted in a space the size of a tennis court. Being so close together causes them to grow faster, which in turn enables them to sequester up to 30 times more carbon dioxide. Over time, more than 500 different types of plants and animals can make their home in such a mini forest, boosting biodiversity. Another Tiny Forest is planned for the MINI plant in Oxford in 2022. 

With the help of schoolchildren, Earthwatch Europe collects data on the climatic and ecological effects of these tiny forests. And these trees also serve another important purpose – to provide urban areas with a green space for social gatherings. 

Test
MINI UK

A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE.

How does MINI envisage the perfect vehicle for urban mobility in the future? An answer to this question is the MINI Vision Urbanaut. This visionary reinterpretation of space not only redefines mobility, it also enables you to live out your own personal “MINI moments”. And it points the way for sustainability as well.

It goes without saying that the MINI Vision Urbanaut is fully electric. The materials used, such as recycled textiles instead of leather and chrome, underscore its sustainable nature. True to the MINI motto, “Clever Use of Space”, it delivers maximum interior space while occupying minimal road space. And while most drivers today use their cars only 9 hours a week, the MINI Vision Urbanaut offers its passengers more than just a ride. The living room-styled interior and the clever, flexible use of space make it the perfect place to kick back, relax and enjoy time with friends and family – even after you get to where you’re going.

Sharing is caring.

Urban mobility is a key issue for MINI because too much traffic creates a number of problems in cities. One such issue can be the lack of parks and open spaces due to the large areas needed for vehicles when they are not in use. A simple solution to this problem is car sharing. When people share cars, those individual cars are used more often, while the overall number of vehicles on the roads is reduced. Most users find that car sharing saves them money compared to owning their own vehicle.

We came up with our special solution to this problem. Available in Spain since October 2020, as well as in Germany and the Netherlands since March 2021, MINI owners have been able to share their cars with others using the MINI Sharing APP. Sharing your MINI is easy. The owner of the car as well as their family and friends can schedule driving times using the MINI Sharing APP, which lets them reserve, locate, lock and unlock the car and start the engine. The plan is to roll out the MINI Sharing APP in other countries as well.

Private car sharing has never been so simple. And it has a lot to offer in terms of improving quality of life, especially in cities. You can find all the information you need on MINI Sharing on the MINI website.

Fresh ideas for the cities of tomorrow.

How will life in the cities of tomorrow look like? And how can we make metro areas more sustainable, liveable and enjoyable? These questions drove MINI to launch URBAN-X, an accelerator programme for start-ups that develop creative ideas for the cities of tomorrow.

Since its launch, URBAN-X has helped more than 70 start-ups, including Farmshelf in Brooklyn, New York. Farmshelf has developed a revolutionary way to grow edibles indoors which can be set up and operated in a restaurant or home. The idea is to grow food right where it is consumed. This reduces transportation, warehouse storage space and refrigeration.

I feel we have created something truly unique.
Designer Paul Smith on the MINI Strip

DESIGN MEETS SUSTAINABILITY.

Reduced to the essentials, made from sustainable materials and incorporated into a sophisticated design: a good description of the MINI Strip concept car created by British fashion designer Paul Smith. The only thing we don’t like about this car is that there is only one of it.

Smith is now stranger to working his magic on a Mini before. But back in 1999, when he covered a classic Mini in the colourful stripes he’s known for, his approach was only based on aesthetics. This time, with sustainability the prime concern, he completely stripped down the fully electric MINI Cooper SE. He created the basic body parts from renewable materials. The dashboard topper pad, parcel shelf and door shoulders are all made from recycled cork, for example. The familiar MINI black bands and front and rear apron inserts are 3D printed from recycled plastic.

Inside, the steel shell is painted a vibrant blue, enhancing the standout appeal of the largely bare interior. The outside is covered only in a transparent paint that leaves visible small scratches and other marks from production. Flaws? Not for designer Paul Smith, who calls his creation “perfect imperfection”.

A CLIMATE-NEUTRAL MEDIA EVENT.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, media representatives from different countries would usually travel from around the globe to witness the unveiling of a new model in person. This was a common industry practice that was also the case at the media launch for the fully electric MINI Cooper SE in January 2020. However, that event in Miami, Florida was a bit different as it showcased MINI’s commitment to sustainability.

MINI offset all CO2 emissions generated by the return travel of the MINI Team and journalists by purchasing environmental certificates. These certificates were used for wind energy projects in South America, such as the expansion of the Peralta Wind Farm in Uruguay. There are now 25 turbines to serve the electricity needs of some 50,000 households. The Argentinian part of Patagonia also received support for a wind project.

For the test runs during the event, the MINI Cooper SE demonstration cars were charged using electricity exclusively from renewable energy. This means that journalists’ test drives and photo shoots were also climate-friendly.

These 8 scenarios illustrate just some of the ways that MINI intends to shape the mobility of the future. Some of these we have already achieved. But the path to true sustainable mobility is a long one. And it will likely continue to show us new ways in which all of us can live and act even more sustainably.  But one thing’s for sure: at MINI, we’re looking forward to it. Because sustainable mobility is fun – especially with that go-kart attitude.