MINI Cooper SE: E-car driving fun for people with disabilities

MINI Cooper SE: E-car driving fun for people with disabilities

For many people, driving a car means self-determination and thus also a form of freedom.

The all-electric MINI Cooper SE now extends the availability of zero-emission driving fun for people with disabilities to the small car segment with driving and operating aids. "For me, diversity means allowing all people to participate in the MINI driving experience that is typical of the brand. Of course, this also applies to the electrified MINI. Our goal is to give everyone equal access to such important innovations," emphasises Stefanie Wurst, Head of MINI.

Driving safety instructor Tina Schmidt-Kiendl, who herself relies on a wheelchair, was able to provide particularly valuable input for equipping the MINI Cooper SE with operating aids. On this basis, the vehicle was fitted with a gas ring on the steering wheel and a handbrake knob next to the steering wheel and then tested in practice. "The MINI Cooper SE already has a very accessible design in principle. Thanks to the dual recuperation, I can also accelerate and brake the fully electric vehicle manually in a controlled and instantaneous manner," confirmed Tina Schmidt-Kiendl after her test drive.

On their joint test drive to Munich, Tina Schmidt-Kiendl and Stefanie Wurst noticed that there is still some catching up to do in terms of urban planning. Currently, charging stations are often installed on the pavement and are difficult to access for people in wheelchairs due to curbs or the display and charging socket being too high. Other European cities are pioneers in this area with their focus on electric mobility. There, e-charging stations must be accessible to all and are accordingly installed at ground level and barrier-free directly on the parking strip. "To become a truly inclusive society, we have to listen to each other. Especially when it comes to technical innovations, we should consider the needs of all people," explains Stefanie Wurst.

With its traditional design features and sustainable drive technology, the MINI Cooper SE combines the typical style of the traditional British brand with emission-free driving fun in urban environments as well as on excursions outside the city limits. People with disabilities can choose customised solutions for individual conversion options for their MINI vehicle by installing driving and operating aids and thus enjoy personal mobility without any problems.

In the MINI Cooper SE, for example, this can involve the installation of a gas ring, the fitting of the ring gas system as well as the hand control for the brake and a removable pedal cover. The closed throttle ring for electrically driven vehicles sits in the inner circle of the steering wheel and thus enables convenient manual operation of the throttle function by hand pressure. The shape of the attachment facilitates safe operation, with both hands on the steering wheel at all times, to ensure maximum control of the vehicle.  

The "reduced throttle characteristic" setting makes parking and smooth starting during a traffic jam much easier. When braking, on the other hand, only minimal effort is required to reduce speed with the hand brake lever. Mounted on the right-hand side below the steering wheel, the brake lever is easily accessible at all times and runs to the brake without any disturbing linkage inside the vehicle dashboard. A pedal cover for the accelerator and brake pedals of the original pedal set protects the driver: from accidental actuation and increases safety. The cover can be easily removed at any time for versatile use of the MINI Cooper SE.

With modern equipment features in the areas of driver assistance, infotainment and connectivity, the MINI Cooper SE continues to offer convenient usability. Here, the latest generation of the MINI control system with its modern graphic display on the 8.8-inch touch display enhances the options for quick and intuitive control of vehicle functions, audio programme, communication, navigation and apps.


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