Mini has joined the growing ranks of electric car makers, revealing the new Mini Electric. And it’s a punchy entry to the market, carrying an entry-level price of just £24,400 after government grants.
The electric powertrain uses a T-shaped 32.6kWh battery pack mounted between the front seats and below the rear seats. The motor serves up 184hp and 199lb/ft of torque, enough to squirt the car from 0-62mph in 7.3secs – a time roughly halfway between that of the automatic-equipped, ICE-engined Cooper and Cooper S. Top speed is limited to 93mph.
Mini claims a WLTP range of between 124 and 144 miles. Which isn’t particularly impressive these days, but is plenty if the car spends it’s life in a city. A 50kW charger can top the battery up to 80% capacity in 35 minutes.
There was enough space in the standard three-door Mini bodyshell that no changes have had to made to accommodate the EV gubbins. Even the bootspace is unaffected, apparently. According to Mini, the Electric weighs 145kg more than a Cooper S auto, tipping the scales at 1,365kg.
Underneath, though, there’s an entirely new suspension that actually adds 15mm of ride height, giving clearance for the batteries. Yet the handling is unaffected, says Mini.
There are four driving modes to choose from – Sport, Mid, Green and Green+. The latter reduces or deactivates things like climate control to eake out as much range as possible.
A few stylistic changes mark out the Mini Electric from it’s ICE’d siblings – a blanked-off grille, E badging, slightly extended wheelarch and sill cladding to compensate for the increase in ride height and those rather cool wheels.
Confusingly, though the car wears Cooper S E badging and will be marketed as such in most markets, in the UK it’ll simply be known as Mini Electric.
Equipment is generous, including a new-to-Mini 5.5in digital instrument panel and touchscreen satnav. There are three equipment grades to choose from. The top grade gets leather, park assist, a panoramic roof, Harmon Kardon stereo, head-up display, wireless phone charging and Metrix LED headlights. That costs £30,400 after grants.
The limited range will inevitably restrict the appeal of the Mini Electric. But we suspect Mini is well aware that most of them will spend their lives in cities and therefore don’t need a longer range.
Orders are being taken now for deliveries starting in 2020. We suspect Mini’s flagship dealer on London’s Park Lane will sell thousands of them.
By Graham King