Mini has unveiled the Aceman, a concept crossover EV designed to usher in a new design language and preview a future electric crossover that will arrive in 2024. Upon launch, this crossover would help bridge the gap between its flagship Mini Hatch and mid-sized Countryman models. Meanwhile, the concept will be utilized by the OEM to form the basis for its upcoming Mini Hatch EV.
The Aceman is built on a dedicated, stretched, version of an EV platform developed by Spotlight Automotive, a joint venture between BMW and Great Wall, that provides a wealth of benefits – many of which can be found inside the EV. Here, the platform offers users a more spacious interior, with additional cabin space provided as a result of the HVAC being pushed forward. The free space between the front and rear seats, similarly enabled by relocating the gear selector and parking brake, now houses a floating center console. This surface offers a variety of convenience features such as additional storage compartments and wireless smartphone charging.
Both the driver and front passenger can benefit further from the Aceman’s infotainment setup, which combines a circular OLED touchscreen with a small toggle switch bar underneath. Powering the display and control system featured in the set-up is the latest generation of the OEM’s proprietary MINI Operating System, which will be built on the Android Open Source Project software stack. Adopting this stack will allow MINI and its customers alike to benefit from a wider range of digital in-vehicle features, including moving image projections capable of presenting content from the control system across the dashboard.
Activated by an in-vehicle projector, these projections form the core of the concept’s Experience Modes, a feature that works to individualize the driving experience. It offers three distinct modes that leverage different aspects of the vehicle’s software functionality while displaying unique colors and graphics. These are shown on the central OLED touchscreen and projected onto the dashboard, while each mode brings a different set of sounds tailored around its theme.
The feature’s Personal Mode, for example, allows users to customize the Aceman’s OLED screen with a picture of their choice. Similarly, they can choose from a number of motion graphics to be displayed across the dashboard – including cloud formations, ocean waves, and a swimming pool – that are each accompanied by a corresponding sound backdrop.
A Pop-Up Mode enhances the driving experience en-route, providing contextual suggestions for landmarks and destinations based on a pre-selected category. Among these categories are Adventures, which navigates the user to nearby leisure attractions, Trending, which guides them to active events, and Tasty, that recommends popular restaurants in the EV’s vicinity. In a similar fashion to the Personal Mode, each category comes with its own set of sounds.
Within the feature, Vivid Mode operates as an entertainment experience designed to be used while the vehicle is stationary – either during short breaks at traffic lights or when charging the vehicle. It allows the users to interact with the touch display and create letter bubbles from components of the Aceman lettering, moving them from left to right on the dashboard. These letters utilize a unique movement algorithm, interacting with one another on the projection by overlapping while forming fluid graphic shapes and patterns. When interacting with Vivid Mode, experimental sounds play and change based on the user’s interactions with it.
Mini confirmed that the Aceman concept would make its public debut at Gamescom 2022, a gaming conference set to take place in Cologne, Germany between August 23, and August 28.