Yesterday MINI took a bold step forward by unveiling its first electric model to the public.
It’s easy to presume that the new MINI Electric is the British brand’s very first EV, but it’s surprisingly not. MINI developed an ‘E’ in 2009 that was used as a trial electric car in several countries. Although once the trial concluded in 2011, the models quickly fell out of sight.
But in the year MINI celebrates its 60th anniversary, here we are with an all-new Electric model. This car could prove to be key in the switch from traditional powertrains to battery-powered models.
Here’s why we’re predicting MINI will have a huge hit on its hands.
Perhaps one of the biggest criticisms of EVs so far has been the price, which can often be substantially more than the equivalent petrol model.
While the MINI Electric still costs a bit more than its comparative petrol-powered rivals, the price gap has certainly narrowed with MINI’s EV. Models start from £24,400 following the government’s £3,500 plug-in car grant. When you consider the levels of standard equipment offered, as well as the potential fuel-saving benefits, this MINI Electric starts to look excellent value for money. Financing and leasing options are also set to be affordable, too.
The same performance as the Cooper S hot hatch
In other markets, the new MINI Electric is called the Cooper SE, a testament to the fact it offers very similar performance to the popular Cooper S hot hatch.
That car’s 2.0-litre petrol engine produces 189bhp, enabling the model to accelerate from 0-60mph in 6.8 seconds. The Electric car’s motor is capable of producing 181bhp, which allows for an impressive 0-60mph time of 7.1 seconds. That might be marginally less on paper, but given the instant torque that’s produced from the electric motor, this EV will feel every bit as quick in real-world conditions
A great driving experience is promised
Some electric cars suffer from a weight disadvantage, which can numb the driving experience. But on something that’s as fun to drive as a MINI, it’s key to ensure that switching to an electric powertrain doesn’t tarnish the driving experience.
At 1,365kg, the MINI Electric is one of the lightest EVs on sale. MINI is promising that the car’s “go-kart feeling is taken to new heights”, with a low centre of gravity and close to perfect weight distribution aiming to result in a great driving experience. We look forward to jumping behind the wheel to see if this is the case.
It’s strengthening British industry
Amid Brexit uncertainty, and several manufacturers reducing or closing their UK production facilities, MINI is showcasing its dedication to the UK automotive industry with this car. That’s because the new MINI Electric is being built at the firm’s Cowley production plant in Oxford.
More than 1,000 MINIs are produced at the plant each day, and this will be strengthened when production of the Electric model begins later in 2019. It’s worth noting that the new EV will be produced on the same production lines as the standard petrol model.
Subtle electric styling
As part of the uptake of EVs, it’s partially key that they don’t look too dissimilar from existing cars. This is where the MINI Electric makes a lot of sense.
While the model pictured features yellow styling accents and new 17-inch alloy wheels, which are exclusive to the Electric, buyers can choose to have their car to look as ‘normal’ the regular MINI as possible.
A smoothed-off front grille and a new digital dash are two of the few alterations, while even the charging port is in the same place as the petrol cap.
It should be noted that there’s no practicality or space disadvantage with the Electric, either, thanks to the low positioning of the 32kWh battery.