Mini Cooper

Mini New All-Electric Aceman SUV Concept Projects GPS Maps Onto the Dashboard

Mini New All-Electric Aceman SUV Concept Projects GPS Maps Onto the Dashboard

Mini’s electrifying new design language already looks like a winner.

The British marque unveiled a colorful EV concept called the Aceman on Tuesday. Prototypes like the battery-powered crossover are meant to offer a peek at a brand’s future, but it sounds like this one will actually go into production, too.
The Aceman is the first vehicle we’ve seen from Mini since it announced the adoption of a new “Charismatic Simplicity” design language earlier this year. The crossover doesn’t look radically different from the brand’s current vehicles, just more refined. The classic Mini profile is still there, but the four-door’s Icy Sunglow Green body has been smoothed out and all unnecessary details have been excised. It’s not been entirely stripped down, though, as the vehicle wears black and blue protective cladding, squared-off wheel arches and a Union Jack rack on its racing green roof. The most striking feature, though, is the LED lighting package, which combines winking matrix headlamps and neon-colored strip lighting. The lights give the EV a cyberpunk vibe we never expected to see from the brand.

Inside the Mini Concept Aceman EV 

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The concept’s cabin is just as futuristic as the crossover’s neon-lit exterior. Unlike most of today’s EVs, the Aceman features just one digital display, a circular screen situated in the center of the dashboard. The rest of the visual information—be it maps or cool designs—is projected onto the dash’s cloth-covered surface by a projector. It’s a feature we haven’t seen before, and one we hope to see more of in the future. The rest of the cabin features a minimalistic look and is covered in recycled materials instead of chrome or leather. Even the steering wheel is covered in velour.
The Aceman is more of a show car than a full prototype at this point. Although Mini had plenty to say about the exterior and interior, we don’t know anything about the concept’s powertrain. We just hope the setup is more efficient than the brand’s current EV, the Electric, which has a rather pitiful range of 110 miles. The compact size of the marque’s vehicles limits how big their battery packs can be, of course, but the Aceman needs to double, if not triple, that figure to compete with its zero-emission peers.

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No timetable has been given, but it sure sounds like Mini plans to build the Aceman. With a length of 13.3 feet and a width of 6.5 feet, it would slot into the company’s lineup neatly between the Cooper hatchback and the Countryman compact SUV. When concepts do go into production, what rolls off the line tends to be more restrained than the original prototype. Let’s all hope this is one instance where that doesn’t happen.

Click here to see all the photos of the Mini Concept Aceman EV.

Mini

Formula 1’s Jenson Button Drives Return of Bygone Coachbuilder Radford

Formula 1’s Jenson Button Drives Return of Bygone Coachbuilder Radford

The humble Mini was the epitome of cool in the swinging 1960s, so every pop star and celeb who wanted one had to stand out from the crowd with their own versions of the popular little car. A coachbuilder named Radford was ready to help with its ultimate toy around New York, London and Paris, a coachbuilt Radford Mini Cooper.

Radford was originally founded in 1948 as Harold Radford (Coachbuilders) Ltd in London. Radford debuted at the London Motor show in 1951, revealing its Bentley “Countryman,” a posh forerunner of the modern SUV.

A 1949 Bentley bodied by Radford. 

Photo: Courtesy of Radford.

The company was also involved in creating bespoke fiberglass bodywork for the prototype Ford GT40, but it was Radford’s modification of Bentley models and, later, Minis, that gave the Radford its admired reputation for luxurious, customized automobiles.

John Lennon in his Radford-customized Mini Cooper, circa 1960s. 

Photo by Keystone Features, courtesy of Radford.

Radford equipped Minis with electric windows, leather trim and a rash of other specialty features which nowadays would be taken for granted. It wasn’t long before all four members of the Beatles and manager Brian Epstein owned one; Ringo Starr even had his modified to store a full set of drums in the back. That particular car was recently bought by Spice Girl, Geri Halliwell for more than $120,000. Mike Nesmith from the Monkees, Ginger Baker from Cream, Mick Jagger, soccer star George Best, Peter Sellers and wife Britt Ekland, the list of Radford Mini owners goes on and on.

Peter Sellers and Britt Ekland with their Radford ride. 

Photo by Wesley, courtesy of Radford.

Now, the storied coachbuilder has been brought back to life, this time under the stewardship of former Formula 1 champ Jenson Button, automotive designer Mark Stubbs and industry personality Ant Anstead. Based in Los Angeles, the new iteration of Radford aims to lead a renaissance in the art of tailored bodywork, driven in recent years by the restomod revolution.
The new outfit is already in talks to build cars for a number of mainstream, high-end manufacturers, taking existing models and transforming them into one-off design classics.

From left: car designer Mark Stubbs, builder and industry personality Ant Anstead and former Formula 1 champion Jenson Button. 

Photo: Courtesy of Radford.

Jenson Button explained: “The Radford brand carries such prestige and magnetism for anyone with an appreciation of cars. The work that Harold Radford and his team were responsible for in the mid 1900s is simply incredible. The time for a revival of proper coachbuilding is right now. People want something unique, something different and something tailor-made. That’s where Radford comes in—our cars will offer the ultimate in luxury and personalization.”

Button also mentions that future partnerships are already in place and will be announced shortly. “They are a testament to what Radford is capable of achieving,” he notes. “It feels like fate that a designer, a builder and a driver have all united at this perfect time. It’s really exciting.”

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