- Mini has unveiled an electric and self-driving compact car concept it sees as a vision for vehicles sold in 2030
- At a turn of a switch, the Urbanaut mini-MPV doubles as a relaxing sanctuary for drivers and passengers
- It features a comfortable sofa in the rear, fold-down dashboard day-bed, rotating chairs and a dining table
- The windscreen swings open from the top hinges to provide what designers have called a ‘street balcony’
It shows future design cues for Minis but also harks back to the Rover Spiritual Too concept revealed in 1997
Mini has showcased a new electric and self-driving compact car that at the push of a button can transform into a ‘living room on wheels’ – and it could be on the road within a decade, which will be just in time for when the ban on new petrol and diesel cars is expected to be imposed in Britain.
The Oxford-based car maker has unveiled the Mini Urbanaut as a pointer towards where the iconic British brand may be in 2030 – with a range of battery-powered and significantly autonomous superminis that double as a relaxing sanctuary for drivers and passengers complete with a comfortable sofa in the rear, fold-down dashboard day-bed, dining table, and even a leafy green potted plant.
It is part of German parent company BMW’s ambitious ‘NextGen2020’ programme showing how accelerating hi-tech and changing social attitudes are creating a new generation of green, zero-emissions cars with vegan leather-free interiors and parts made from recycled metals, materials and plastics.
Vision of the future: This is the Mini Urbanaut concept – a compact MPV the BMW-owned brand says it could be making in a decade’s time
It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce the banning of all new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, and hybrids from 2035, with only pure electric vehicles available for sale after that date.
Designers say the electric Urbanaut could be as revolutionary in 2030 as Sir Alec Issigonis’s original frugal 10-foot square Mini was in 1959 before becoming an icon of the Swinging Sixties.