In less than a week MINI is set to unveil a new concept vehicle at the 2010 Paris Auto Show but unlike previous designs from the iconic British brand, this one only has two wheels. The concept is the new 2010 MINI Scooter E, the latest line in electric vehicles from MINI and the first with two wheels.

These images of the concept released today show a fairly conventional scooter design, with trademark MINI styling and retro cues. Two different versions will be displayed, one with a single seat and the other with two. 

The new MINI Scooter E concept is also the latest vehicle from BMW’s Project i division, a research think tank whose task is to develop a number of solutions for a vehicle designed for congested city motoring. The first development of Project i is already on the roads in the form of the previous MINI E, and now BMW is set to up the ante with the unveiling of the new MINI Scooter E.

The idea of an electric scooter for urban environments makes sense. The instantaneous pick-up of electric drive systems, plus the vehicle’s low weight and compact dimensions, ensure pure agility in typical urban traffic conditions.

The MINI Scooter E Concept is powered by an electric motor integrated in the rear wheel. The motor’s lithium-ion battery can be recharged at any conventional power socket using an on-board charging cable. Plugs and cables are accommodated underneath a cover similar to the round tank flap in a MINI car. 

After opening the illuminated flap, the plug and charging cable can be pulled out to a length of more than 16 feet and connected to the power system. After the battery has been charged a button-operated spring mechanism ensures that the cable is retracted and tidily coiled away in a space-saving compartment. Additionally, when riding the MINI Scooter E Concept, brief stops can be used to top up the on-board energy storage system thanks to an energy recovery system.

Interestingly, closest rival Mercedes-Benz and its Smart division are also planning an electric Scooter of their own, which you can read about by clicking here