Mini Aceman and Pokémon: The electric SUV is very playful

They must have been to the funfair, cleared the lottery box and shooting range. Or they bought the internet empty. Anyway, the hotel room looks like it’s in the Pokémon game: plush figures, bedding, mugs, small cakes on a stick, the game console is running, well, of course, Pokémon. So it’s against this backdrop that an established automaker wants to talk about a new vehicle, the Mini Aceman. Only Mini can do that!

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They parked their prototype right in front of their hotel room on the tenth floor, with a view of Frankfurt Airport. Now it’s just after 9 p.m., it’s getting dark. Mini design boss Oliver Heilmer opens the driver’s door, next to the Mini logo, which is projected onto the floor, it flashes and sparkles.

Mini Aceman Pokemon

Playground for designers: The next Mini is called Aceman and will be on the market in 2024. He should make the brand younger again.

And then you can read what this evening is about: Pokémon! Mini has entered into a cooperation with the Japanese cult game and is a sponsor at the Gamescom games fair in Cologne.

Pokémon are older than the modern-day mini

We briefly dive into the fantasy world of the “Pocket Monsters”, the lives of Pikachu and Dragoran. The game came to the Gameboy in 1996, and now Pokémon can be caught, collected and trained on the console in front of the TV, the PC and the mobile phone.

Consistent success for 26 years with an ageless target group. It goes without saying that those responsible at Mini are enthusiastic about something like this.

The Aceman aims to bring back the fun

Mini chief designer Oliver Heilmer has just finished the production version of the four-meter SUV Aceman, which is scheduled to come onto the market in 2024 as the Countryman’s little brother. He says: “We have to bring back the fun and get younger.”

What does he mean by that? In 2000 they reborn Mini, the first BMW Mini was lightness on four wheels, playful and customizable like no other car before it.

Mini Aceman Pokemon

Nice detail: the roof rack on the Mini Aceman is shaped like the Union Jack.

The quality has increased with each new generation, now the vehicles finally have BMW engines (previously Chrysler and Peugeot) and a quality that is appropriate to the high prices. But youth has fallen by the wayside, everything is so serious about Mini.

On the roof there is the English flag

She’s supposed to come back with the new Aceman. The study has a roof rack in the form of a huge Union Jack, instead of chrome and leather there are seats in the interior that look as if they had sewn together scraps of fabric, dashboard and steering wheel as if knitted with a needle.

Mini Aceman Pokemon

The Pokémon icon Pikachu in the mini cockpit is currently just a graphic. But maybe one day you can really play with it.

Instead of many buttons and displays, there is a central OLED screen, round and big like a mini pizza, including switches for the basic commands, that’s it.

One day Mini might be able to play video games too

They prefer to play with graphics and sound at Mini. When Pikachu appears on the monitor and the car runs through the demo mode, it flashes and sparkles over the entire dashboard and into the door panels.

Mini Aceman Pokemon

Play of light under the car: when the driver’s door opens, the mini and Pokémon logos light up on the floor.

And the question that pops up is: will I be able to play Pokémon while it’s loading? Heilmer, who of course studied Tesla’s range of games, says: “It’s not yet possible, but games are an option.”

Anything goes in the designer imagination

At Gamescom they have a 600 square meter stand, show the Aceman study and have packed a second vehicle like a giant Matchbox car. Heilmer is already thinking further in limited special models, says: “In my designer imagination everything is possible.”

Maybe jeans as a seat cover, a dashboard covered with stonewashed fabric. And when the door opens, the Levi’s logo flashes on the floor. Only Mini can do that!

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