China patents electric Mini rip-off


The classic Mini may be revived with an electric powertrain – however, it looks set to be a sub-legitimate rendition.

The humble Mini is the latest automotive icon to fall foul of China’s booming imitation industry.

New patents filed by Beijing Estech Technology Co. reveal plans for an electric hatchback suspiciously similar to the British classic.

A slightly-tapered nose, curved front windscreen, and underfloor battery pack are added to the original silhouette.

Specification details of a possible production car are thin on the ground for now, however a single electric motor will likely drive the front wheels.

It’s unclear which manufacturer will build the vehicle, where it will be sold, or how much it will cost.

The original Mini was built in England by BMC, British Leyland, and then the Rover Group between 1959 and 2000.

Widely considered one of the most influential products of the 20th century, the Mini popularised the front-wheel-drive layout for small cars.

As production of the original model wound down, German brand BMW – parent company of the Rover Group at the time – developed a modern Mini recreation, and has marketed it ever since (2001) under its own standalone brand.

The new sketches follow multiple recent Chinese rip-offs of classic foreign cars.

In 2016 Zotye released the Porsche Macan-like SR8, and the following year Jiangling Motors was sued for the Range Rover Evoque-like Landwind X7.

William Davis

William Davis has written for Drive since July 2020, covering news and current affairs in the automotive industry.

He has maintained a primary focus on industry trends, autonomous technology, electric vehicle regulations, and local environmental policy.

As the newest addition to the Drive team, William was brought onboard for his attention to detail, writing skills, and strong work ethic.

Despite writing for a diverse range of outlets – including the Australian Financial Review, Robb Report, and Property Observer – since completing his media degree at Macquarie University, William has always had a passion for cars.

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