Despite Mini E prototypes being around since 2008, it has taken a surprisingly long time for MINI to bring a full EV to market. What was possibly even more shocking was that BMW pipped them to the post with the i3. But at long last we have the MINI Electric, the first fully electric battery model from the British carmaker. The question is, however, has it been worth the wait?
The MINI Electric can go from 0mph to 62mph in just 7.3seconds which is almost MINI Cooper S levels of performance and you will be paying the same as that petrol-powered Cooper S version too. As with all EV’s the max speed is restricted but provided you haven’t lost your mind and are buying a MINI Electric to use as a race car, we’re sure this restriction of 93mph will be just fine.
There are four driving modes: Sport, Mid, Green and Green Plus – all of which are relatively self-explanatory, and there are three trim levels to choose from. The very sensibly named Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 trims all boast sat nav on a 6.5-inch central touchscreen which also handily indicates the whereabouts of local public charging stations. This basic Level 1 trim package will cost you around £24,400 after the government plug-in grant.
The mid-level trim variant offers drivers additional exterior body colour and wheel options for around £26,400. Rear Park Distance Control, a rear camera, a ‘Driving Assistance Pack’ and Logo Projection puddle lights are also included.
For £30,400 after the government grant you will receive the premium trim level – Level 3. There are lots of features to like here including PDC parking sensors and a ‘Park Assist’ system which makes parking a doddle. It also boasts a Harmon Kardon sound system, wireless phone charging, a head-up display, a panoramic sunroof, Matrix LED headlamps and a larger 8.8-inch central infotainment touchscreen.
In terms of space, MINI is only offering a 3-door version of this Electric, which is something to think about if you plan to regularly cart passengers around in the back. In fact, even if it were to be offered as a 5-door version, unfortunately, space in the rear is compromised by the battery’s position. However, the boot space is the same as you would find in the MINI Hatch – 211 litres, which expands to 731 with the back seats folded down.
The interior is also similar to that you would find in the hatch model. Although, there is a new digital dashboard with a 5.5-inch colour screen behind the steering wheel. This screen helpfully displays information such as speed, the level of battery charge remaining, the driving mode which has been selected and much more.
Perhaps the biggest deal clincher may be the range. We’ll be honest when we say that you will really have to determine if this MINI Electric is right for you and your lifestyle as the range is just simply not competitive with other market leaders. MINI claim it will cover between 124 and 144 miles in the WLTP cycle. For comparison, the full-electric Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e models will do over 200 miles. BUT, MINI argues that a longer range count would require a larger, more expensive battery which would have a great effect on performance and handling due to the extra weight. Anyone shopping for a MINI knows of its punchy driving ability and one would assume they would not wish to forgo this. You could also argue that most potential buyers will be city dwellers, for whom the limited range may never be an issue. Instead, this MINIs enthusiasm for driving will be what pulls drivers in.
As for the all-important charge time, 0-80% via a regular three-pin socket will take up to 12 hours. However, if you have a normal 7kW home wall box, you should see full charge within 4 hours and 12 minutes. Better still, 0-80% can be achieved in just 36 minutes from a 50kW public CCS charger.
Only you can decide if a max range of 140miles is sufficient for you. But if you do, in return you’ll get this exciting little car made by an iconic automotive great. MINI has managed to retain most of what drivers like about the Cooper S while offering a vehicle which has zero emissions – for us, this feels like a strong new addition to the MINI family.