As the world faces new environmental, social and economic challenges, MINI tells us that that it has unveiled its first fully electric model, the MINI Electric.
It’s every inch a MINI to look at with the company promising performance close to the hot-hatch MINI Cooper S. It is temptingly entry-level pricing with an OTR Price of €37,765 less €10,000 (VRT Relief: €5,000 and SEAI Grant: €5,000 ), so a net of €27,765.
Back in 2009, the British manufacturer produced a small number of electric variants of the Mini hatch to test EV technology. It was called the Mini E and was available through leasing in parts of the US and Europe. Over a decade later, orders are now being taken with first deliveries to start this month.
The MINI Electric is based on the same body shell as the three door hatch, with a number of specific differences. An embossed MINI Electric logo appears on car’s side scuttles, as well as on the tailgate and front radiator grille.
The front grille features the hallmark hexagonal shape but is closed, as the car requires less cooling. This also contributes to excellent aerodynamics, as do the enclosed undercarriage, the rear apron and the special 17-inch MINI Electric Corona Spoke 2-tone wheels, which are optional.
The charging plug is located above the right-hand rear wheel, where the petrol filler would normally be. Boot volume can be compromised in electric cars but the MINI Electric retains the full MINI Hatch 211 litres, expanding to 731 litres when the rear backrests are folded down.
There will the three trim levels, beginning with the aforementioned standard trim, and the road price from €27,765 OTR (which includes SEAI grant €5,000 and VRT rebate €5,000 ). The mid-level offers a cloth/leather-look upholstery, additional exterior body colour and wheel options, as well as adding rear Park Distance Control (PDC ), Rear Camera, Seat Heating, Driving Assistance Pack and Logo Projection. The mid-level style MINI Electric is available at €30,405 OTR (including SEAI grant and VRT rebate ).
For buyers looking for a premium driving experience, the top level offers the following on top of the mid-level trim: front PDC, Park Assist, Harmon Kardon sound system and Head-up Display. It also adds a Panoramic Sun Roof, Matrix LED’s and provides an upgrade to the 8.8” infotainment touch screen.
Wireless phone charging is also included, in addition to MINI Yours Leather Lounge upholstery, a choice of five alloy wheels and six exterior body colours. The top style MINI Electric is available at €35,695 OTR (including SEAI grant and VRT rebate ).
The battery pack has twelve modules of lithium-ion cells arranged in a T-shaped unit in the vehicle floor between the front seats and below the rear seats, providing a claimed battery capacity of 32.6 kWh.
The carmaker says that the motor is the latest, powerful version of the synchronous electric motor developed by the BMW Group and provides a maximum output of 184 HP and maximum torque of 270 Nm. As a result, Mini says that the car accelerates to 100km in just 7.3 seconds with top speed limited to 150 kms/h.
In accordance with new EU law, the car is fitted with acoustic pedestrian protection for low speed driving, with a distinctive sound created especially for the car generated via a speaker system.
The electric drive promises to take the trademark MINI go-kart driving feeling to new heights, thanks to new suspension technology designed for this model. With a centre of gravity that is at least 30 millimetres lower than in the MINI Cooper S and the reduced weight over the front wheels thanks to the electric motor, close to perfect weight distribution helps the new MINI Electric achieve exceptional driving dynamics.
The MINI Electric has an innovative Dynamic Stability Control (DSC ) system which the company says gives excellent traction at set-off and outstanding driving stability in brake energy recovery mode, as well as when accelerating out of tight bends.
The car offers as standard four MINI Driving Modes - selected via a switch located on the right-hand side of the toggle bar. Sport mode has more direct steering and a more rapid power delivery. The MID setting has less aggressive steering while ‘Green’ mode features gentle accelerator actuation. In ‘Green+’ mode, some comfort functions such as air conditioning are limited or deactivated to save further power and increase range.
A toggle switch to the left of the start/stop toggle provides the choice of intense or low-level power regeneration, regardless of the MINI Driving Modes to allow the driver to choose the best setting for their own style of driving. This recharges the battery when the driver lifts off the accelerator, preserving energy, and acts as a braking force.
The MINI Electric comes with both home and public charging cables as standard, designed for AC and DC charging using Type 2 and CCS Combo two plugs. Above the car socket, a charge level indicator displays orange for start of charge, pulsating yellow light for active charging and green for a fully charged battery. At a 50kW DC fast-charging station an 80 percent charge is reached from zero in 35 minutes.