2020 MINI Electric (also known as MINI Cooper SE) is a pure electric vehicle, manufactured by BMW that is released in 2020. the MINI Electric is an inspiration of the well-known “MINI Cooper”, back in the early 70s. the three-door MINI hatch will go down in history as something of a runaway success. sales have been growing steadily in fact with the maker peaking across all models at almost 400,000 global units back in 2017.
SUVs, sports cars, and even old MINI convertibles have come and gone. and yet the cute cuddly three-door remains. three generations later and the company has prepared itself for its biggest step-change to date. that is electrification.
Despite dipping its toe in the water in 2009, with a handful of electric prototypes, it’s taken many two decades to come up with its first production-ready electric car. we tried the MINI Electric back in the US at the start of the year.
Surely electrification is no better suited to any kind of car than a small front-drive MINI hatch.
This car is only available with a relatively small 32.6 kWh battery. with a usable capacity of 28.9 kilowatt-hours. there’s no option of a longer-range version. and the company has no plans to add a bigger battery at a later stage.
2020 MINI Electric Trims
It’s available in three easy to understand specification levels. they don’t quite mirror the standard cars classic, sport, and exclusive trims. instead, they’re called the MINI Electric’s trims as level 1, level 2, and level 3.
Level 1 – Specs
The basic level 1 car costs £24,900. this trim represents the best value for money. it gets,
- 6.5-inch touchscreen
- Sat Nav display
- Apple car play
- MINI Connected – which offers up live information like charge point availability and current traffic conditions, etc.
- cruise control
- Digital cockpit display
This version also includes two-zone climate control.
Level 2 – Specs
The Level 2 trim costs another £2,000 (around $2600) and adds the driving assistant package with things like speed limit, and traffic sign recognition. it also adds heated part leatherette seats and a choice of additional paint and wheel options.
PS: This trim also has a reverse camera
Level 3 – Specs
The range-topping Level 3 costs an additional £4,000 than the price of the Level 1 car. this trim includes a
- Heads-up display
- Panoramic sunroof
- Harman Kardon stereo
- Full leather seats
- 8.8-inch sat-nav screen.
While this equipment makes the MINI Cooper SE feel like a truly premium car. they’re luxuries rather than essentials.
There’s no five-door version car, and that seems like a bit of oversight. because practicality isn’t a strong point here. that said, if there’s just two of you or you’re using this as a second car, there’s little cause for complaint.
This little hatchback sticks to a tried and tested formula here made famous by the petrol version of the car. now everything centers around the circular display in the middle. which houses everything from the Sat Nav. to a few buttons and things like that.
While the similarly circular speedo behind the steering wheel has been swapped for a more oval-like digital display. it all feels reassuringly familiar.
The climate controls are all big round buttons that are easy to use. and the toggle switches below have been carried over pretty much unchanged. albeit with a slightly electric twist. so you’ve got stuff like the regenerative braking.
The start-stop button has been made yellow like much of the details around the car.
There are 4 drive modes,
The Green mode and the Green plus mode for maximizing the range of the battery.
As we said above, there are 4 drive modes. depending on which one you pick you could make quite a difference to your remaining range. the standard mode of Mid, the one that the car starts in is normal which gives you a kind of bass line to start with.
If you flick it through the sport you’ll lose some of that range. but you’ll get a bit of added performance, and it does leap off the line if you’re in that setting.
Next is the Green mode which limits some of the power but seems like enough for most of your daily duties.
The last and most economical mode is the Green+ mode. which limits power again and turns off things like the air conditioning. this perhaps is one step too far but in reality, that range is going to be a sticking point for a lot of people.
2020 Mini Electric – Range
The company claims 145 miles of range which doesn’t sound too bad. but when you start getting 100 miles or 110 miles from a charge from a full battery. you do start to question whether you could use this as your only car. but if you do have the ability to top it up every 100 miles or so then why to write it off it’s a cracking small car.
The interior quality is exemplary. and these seats are supportive. visibility on the other hand isn’t great. but in a car so small, and with such short overhangs that’s unlikely to matter. if it does and parking is a challenge for you. anyway, the Level 2 trim gets a reversing camera as standard.
On the surface, the charging times appear quite fast. however, that is partly due to the small battery. which inevitably doesn’t take very long to top up from empty.
This car’s maximum charge rate from a standard charger is 11 kW. but you need 3 phase electrics to benefit from this which very few domestic properties have.
Realistically, buyers will be using a 7.4 kW charger at home. that will fully charge the car within 5 hours. this pure electric car can manage a maximum of 50 kW at a public rapid charger. allowing for a 10% to 80% charge in 28 minutes.
Things slow dramatically when you hit 80%. though topping up to full 100% battery capacity will take another 1 hour.
This car includes a cable for charging at a Type 2 station. as well as a cable for plugging into 3-pin domestic sockets. the latter allowing for a 10% to 80% charge in around 15 hours.
Performance and Handling
On the road, it’s no exaggeration to call this MINI the first proper electric hot hatch. it feels so playful and just like the old petrol one, and that is a great thing. on paper, you may look at the cooper S badge and wish for a little bit more.
The Mini Electric can accelerate 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds. this actually feels so much faster on the road when you put your foot down. but there’s so much more to this experience that makes this car so fun to drive. it’s the steering that feels alive in your hands. it’s the ride that’s just the right side of the firm.
This car is just a nice complete package that rewards the driver. speaking of rewarding the driver, there’s a little bit more on top it’s the body control. it’s the grip it’s the handling. it’s just a nice fun to drive package. that you haven’t seen anywhere else in the electric world so far. certainly not at this price point.
Expenses (in the UK)
Running a small electric car will work wonders for your bank balance. and because it’s got such a small battery charging at home will only cost a couple of quid (quid means a Pound sterling).
This car is exempt from road tax, and company car tax at least for the time being. as well as being free from things like the London Congestion Charge, and various low emission zones. range aside as something of a future-proof small car there’s little to fault when it comes to running costs.
Regenerative Braking System
Like with most electric cars, the MINI Cooper SE comes with a regenerative braking system. but it’s much stronger in here than it is in most cars.
the first is a coasting function, so you lift off and you feel very little. but the second allows for one-pedal driving. if you’re on a road like a twisty country road, the energy that it generates and recaptures and saves. can allow you to see the range meter not dropping at all. so fun and frugality.
Raise your speed a little and you will notice quite a bit of road noise from the tires. it’s a problem that plagues most electric cars but it does seem to be a little bit worse in the car than in some others. but this isn’t the kind of car that you’re going to long distances in. so it’s unlikely to be a problem for many buyers around the town of course is perfectly refined and quiet.
This is a fast fun but flawed small electric car. it drives just like the old petrol one. while it feels like the first-ever all-electric hot hatch and we love it for that. but it suffers all the same problems as its petrol-powered sibling. namely practicality price and that range which despite MINI’s insistence will be a deal-breaker for some buyers. it’s a shame there’s no five-door with a bigger battery because do you know what that could be just the ticket.
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