MINI’S top designer has made a rare visit to Oxford as further details are released showing what the electric version of the car will look like.

Oliver Heilmer, who has been the head of the Mini design team since 2017, spent the afternoon meeting BMW workers at the Cowley plant on Tuesday.

He outlined what to expect as the company works flat-out behind-the-scenes to finalise the design for the much-anticipated car which goes into production at the plant next year.

Seen as crucial to the company’s ability to transition from a business based on petrol and diesel vehicles to a more environmentally-friendly future, the latest sketches released show the electric model will be subtlety different to its more-polluting predecessors.

Using an electric motor has allowed Mini to make changes to its distinctive hexagonal grill and introduce a new wheel design in what it is calling the latest ‘aerodynamic technology’.

After leaving Oxford, Mr Heilmer travelled to the Goodwood motor show in Sussex where a prototype electric Mini is on display for the first time in the UK this weekend.

Speaking to the Oxford Mail, he said: “It’s the first time I have been to Oxford as the head of Mini design and the second time overall. Seeing the plant is fantastic.

“It is the home of the Mini and I feel a certain vibe here. I felt it when I started in the Mini design unit and I feel it again here – it is something that is special.

“Everyone is so proud of creating a product that is really unique and we are all keenly aware of that.

“As a design team we are fascinated by cars in general, especially those that have a history.

“So we have a lot of chances to discuss how it all started and the first cars from a professional and emotional point of view.

“You get a sense of what is good and what is less good and we are constantly looking at what makes something become iconic."

The design sketches released this week further expand on the concept for the electric Mini released last year.

Last month BMW's top Brit Ian Robertson reiterated the company's commitment to making the car in Oxford, despite fears that vital parts being shipped from Germany could face delays or costs on the borders after Brexit.

Mr Heilmer said the car will retain the sense of fun associated with the Mini but will include the option of various new features and trimmings that differentiate it as an electric model.

He also revealed that colleagues in Oxford have already begun to test-drive prototypes of the car.

The Goodwood display has had a positive reception so far with Autocar magazine saying it provided an insight into the future of the brand.