New MINI Electric hatchback revealed with a pure EV range of 124 miles with prices starting from £24,400 and deliveries starting next year
This is the MINI Electric. A full EV version of the three-door hatch complete with a 124-mile range, three trim levels and a starting price of £24,400. It’s on sale now with deliveries beginning in March 2020.
MINI says the Electric’s arrival is as groundbreaking as the car that heralded the brand’s reinvention in 2001. It also comes in the middle of BMW’s 60th anniversary of the original 1959 Mini, and nine years on from the British brand’s first attempt at an all-electric model. It was called the MINI E, 600 prototypes were built worldwide with selected drivers taking part in feasibility trials, but the cars were never sold to the public.
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While the new car is actually called MINI Electric, you’ll actually find Cooper S badges on the tailgate – a way of MINI denoting the comparable level of performance against the regular lineup.
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Under the bonnet there’s a 181bhp electric motor from the BMW i3S, allowing the Electric to get from 0-62mph in a claimed 7.3 seconds and hit a top speed of 93mph. The motor is powered by 32.5kWh battery pack. It’s positioned horizontally down the middle of the car, where a petrol-powered Cooper S’s exhaust system and transmission tunnel would normally lie. Consequently, space in the rear seats and in the boot remains the same as conventional petrol and diesel versions of the MINI.
MINI quotes a WLTP range of between 124 and 144 miles, and when charging on a 50kW rapid DC charger an 80 per cent top-up takes 35 minutes. AC 11kW charging takes 2.5 hours for 80 per cent or 3.5 hours for a full charge. Flick open the charging flap (positioned where the petrol Cooper S’s filler cap would normally be) and there are Type 2 and CCS charging ports; a charging cable suitable for a three-pin domestic socket is only supplied as standard, however.
Exterior changes are of the type you’d expect when you turn a petrol-powered car into an EV – subtle. It sits 15mm higher off the road than normal hatch, there’s a new rear bumper with a smoother design that now doesn’t need to incorporate the Cooper S’s twin exhaust pipes, and at the front there’s another new bumper – this one’s 19mm longer than the petrol car’s as it incorporates more pedestrian crash safety tech. Strangely the Cooper S’s blocked off bonnet scoop remains and is cosmetic only, as is the grille – it’s now completely flared in and can feature an ‘Energetic’ yellow stripe or a ‘Invigorate’ grey one.
Other differences include more aerodynamic door mirrors pinched from the recently facelifted MINI Clubman, a yellow ‘S’ badge on the boot lid and yellow ‘E’ badges on the scuttles. And just like regular models the scuttles can be personalised through the MINI Yours programme.
On the inside there’s a smattering of yellow trim and buttons including the Start/Stop toggle switch, and on the centre console there’s a new infotainment scroll wheel and the Cooper S’s manual handbrake has been replaced with an electric one. The big change, however, is the analogue clock for the speedo and rev counter have been ditched – in its place an elliptical screen with speed, power and electric range data.
There are three trim levels but MINI has yet to confirm what they’ll be called. In the meantime basic equipment will consist of cloth seats, a 6.5-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and sat-nav (which also includes charging station info), cruise control and automatic air conditioning. Paint choices are limited to silver or grey.
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Mid-spec cars add cloth and leatherette seats, keyless entry, heated seats, a parking camera and MINI logo puddle lamps. Black, green and red also join the colour palette, as do larger alloy wheel options, while top-spec Electrics get ‘Lounge’ leather upholstery, an 8.8-inch touchscreen, wireless charging and more colour and wheel choices.
MINI is allowing customers to go all-out with the EV vibe with ‘Energetic’ yellow door mirrors and a new alloy wheel design. But for those who don’t want to shout about owning an Electric, customers can replace the yellow bodywork trim for grey, or go for a grey, black or body-coloured roof and the same alloy wheels on conventional Cooper and Cooper S models at no extra cost.
The range kicks off at £24,300 for the entry-level car, £26,400 for the mid-spec and £30,400 for the range-topper – and that’s after the government grant is deducted. That puts the MINI Electric squarely up against the forthcoming Honda e in terms of pricing and EV range. The MINI falls short of 282-mile Kia e-Niro and the soon-to-be-launched 211-mile Peugeot e-208 for outright range, however.
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