Mini Cooper SE is the first EV model from Mini unveiled not long ago. This is a part of the British brand’s step into the electric future. As the convertible version has been unveiled recently, there’s also another Cooper SE that’s that is specially made for people with disabilities. Mini developed such driving and operating aids, now even those who aren’t able to use their lower part of the body can drive. Head of Mini, Stefanie Wurst said, “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 at MINI is to give everyone equal access to such important innovations”. (Source: motor1)
Mini’s driving experience instructor Tina Schmidt-Kiendl, is a disabled person, who uses a wheelchair. She provided all the particularly valuable and practical input helping to equip the Mini Cooper SE with operating aids. For the throttle part, the steering wheel features a wireless ring system. This allows the driver to operate it through hand pressure. The car also has a “reduced throttle characteristic” mode to be used while parking. The mode can even be used when pulling away gently within congested traffic.
Now, for the braking part, it is controlled via a hand-operated lever placed at the bottom right side of the steering wheel. The access is easy at all times and runs to the brake without any further rod assembly getting congesting the vehicle’s dashboard. Moreover, the pedal covers installed, ensure that the original accelerator and brake pedals are not accidentally operated.
Still, now everything was fine, but there is one hurdle, though. Schmidt-Kiendl pointed out that some Munich charging stations are not wheelchair friendly. The non-accessible charging points are not wheelchair friendly due to the curb. Wurst says, “If we want society to be really inclusive, we have to listen to each other. We have to consider everyone’s needs – especially when it comes to technical innovations”.
Also, it is very nice to hear that, Mini makes sure that owners of the converted Cooper SE will get the habit of using the hand-operated driving. Just outside Munich, the automaker offers a special driving safety training course at the BMW and Mini Driving Experience center in Maisach. The training course includes a lot of challenges to practice braking and avoidance maneuvers on various road surfaces, as well as lane changes with and without deceleration. The course even involves dynamic exercises for sporty driving.
It is a very good innovation and initiative by Mini to let anyone experience them. By not only making it limited to a small group of people but also extending their love and care to all our disabled friends.