The Rocketman is finally set to take to the road after being unveiled as a concept at the Geneva Motor Show way back in 2011.
Mini has decided to revive the concept, and not just for good looks either; it's going to be released in the form of an electric vehicle.
According to Autocar, the Rocketman will be the BMW subsidiary's first subcompact city car, with production scheduled for 2020. The project will involve Chinese manufacturers Great Wall Motors.
“We’re advancing plans for a model along the lines of the Rocketman,” an unnamed senior BMW representative told the publication. “It’s a car we have been looking at for a long time, but to build it profitably at the price point we think customers are prepared to pay, you need a joint venture partner to share costs. Great Wall Motors has provided that opportunity with a shared electric car platform that will be used by Mini.”
The car will keep its three-door hatchback design and will be the manufacturer's latest entry-level model. It's set to be built by Great Wall Motors in Jiangsu, China, with BMW to oversee design and production with the intent of selling the EV to all global markets.
The Rocketman was BMW's response to Daimler's Smart ForFour when it was revealed at Geneva eight years ago but development was shelved despite the good feedback from prospective buyers. The change of plans is said to have stemmed from BMW's partnership with initial partner Peugeot ending abruptly.
A new agreement with Great Wall sees the project back on stream. The Chinese automakers will have their small-car platform - called the Ora R1 - and the Rocketman will boast an all-electric powertrain as opposed to the three-cylinder gas or diesel engine the partnership with Peugeot would have produced.
The Ora R1 uses an electric motor in the front that produces up to 47 horsepower and 92 pound-feet of torque. It's powered by a 30.7-kilowatt-hour battery but there's also an optional and more powerful 33 kWh unit on offer.