DRIVABILITY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.
The new MINI Electric offers modifications that allow people with disabilities to enjoy the freedom of driving on their own. These modifications include the addition of an accelerator ring on the steering wheel and a handbrake lever next to it, enabling disabled drivers to have full control of the vehicle with their hands.
The closed throttle ring sits in the inner circle of the steering wheel and enables comfortable manual operation of the throttle function by hand pressure. Its shape allows the driver to keep both hands on the steering wheel. To make parking and starting smoother and easier with the throttle ring, there is a special setting for reduced throttle characteristics. The throttle ring can be deactivated via a switch and can also be removed if necessary due to its wireless functionality.
The hand brake lever can be operated with minimal effort and acts exactly like the normal brake pedal, using regenerative braking first and then the standard friction brakes. The original pedals are separated from the footwell with a cover so that they cannot be operated accidentally. This can simply be removed for another driver, allowing the MINI to be driven with the pedals.
“For me, diversity means allowing everyone to share in the hallmark MINI driving experience. And this applies equally to the electrified MINI, of course. Our goal is to give everyone equal access to such important innovations,” said Stefanie Wurst, Head of MINI.
The solution was developed, among others, with the help of driving safety instructor Tina Schmidt-Kiendl who uses a wheelchair. “The design of the MINI Electric is very accessible as it is. With the dual recuperation, you have full control for instant acceleration and braking,” said Schmidt-Kiendl after her test drive through Munich with Stefanie Wurst riding in the passenger seat.