In Review

Mini Electric 2019: first official images, plus specs, prices and UK release date

Carmaker’s first mass-produced EV comes ten years after public trials began

After months of rumours and spy shots, Mini has finally taken the covers off its first all-electric model. 

Dubbed the Mini Electric in the UK and Mini S E in the rest of Europe, the electrified hatchback is based on the company’s three-door Cooper S. It will be built at the firm’s plant in Oxford, according to Autocar

Mini started trialling electric versions of its popular hatchback in a number of cities in 2009. Around 500 vehicles were tested in public and a production model seemed to be on the horizon at the time, but Mini instead opted to shelve the EV in 2011.

Unlike its first attempt at building an EV, the Mini Electric will be mass-produced and rival the likes of the Peugeot e-208 and Honda e. 

With the car set to make its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, which takes place from 12 to 22 September, here’s everything you need to know about Mini’s foray into the EV world: 

Price

Prices kick off at £24,300 for entry-level models, £26,400 for mid-range variants and £30,400 for top-of-the-line cars, Auto Express reports. The figures include the £3,500 grant that the Government gives to buyers of all-electric vehicles.

Release

Orders are open now, but buyers will have to wait until March 2020 to get behind the wheel of the EV. 

Design and interior

Given that it’s based on the Cooper S, it comes as little surprise that the Mini Electric is almost indistinguishable from its combustion-engined counterpart. The most notable difference is the blocked-off grille, bespoke four-spoke wheel design and the lack of an exhaust pipe at the rear.

Other styling cues include the “E” logo that’s engraved into the battery charger cap, which is located in the same place as the fuel filler port on models with combustion engines. 

Step inside and you notice an interior layout that’s unmistakably Mini, albeit with an electric twist. For instance, drivers start the car by flicking a bright yellow switch in the centre console, which illuminates when activated. 

Entry-level models come with sat nav as standard, featuring specialised maps that highlight charging points along your route, says Car magazine. Mid-range models, meanwhile, get heated seats, rear parking sensors and Mini’s driver assistance package.

Top-spec cars come equipped with an 8.8in touchscreen infotainment system in the centre console, plus a Harman Kardon sound system and a head-up display, the motoring magazine says. 

Battery range and performance

The Mini Electric is powered by the same synchronous electric motor found in the BMW i3 and matches the quirky city car’s 181bhp power output and 199lb-ft of torque, says Evo. The helps the EV sprint from 0-62mph in just 7.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 93mph. 

Connected to the i3-derived electric motor is a 32.6kWh battery pack, offering a range of around 124 miles under the real-world WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) measuring system, the magazine says. It should be quick to charge, too, as a 50kW DC fast-charger takes around 35 minutes for 100 miles of range. 

What do the critics think?

Critics have been behind the wheel of a prototype model of the Mini Electric to see whether the British marque is on track to deliver a true rival to the upcoming Peugeot e-208 and Honda e.

Thanks to the instant torque provided by the car’s electric motor, acceleration in the Mini Electric is “brisk” and there’s a “remarkable” amount of traction, particularly on sodden surfaces, The Daily Telegraph says. 

Steering retains the combustion-engined Mini’s “lively” feel, which is partly thanks to the battery and motor being mounted low in the chassis, the newspaper adds. This helps keep the car’s centre of gravity low, which in turn minimises body roll and improves front-end grip.  

Customers will find “plenty of interesting technology” on the electrified Mini, says CarBuyer. For instance, there are two forms of regenerative braking, a system that recharges the battery once drivers take their foot off the accelerator. In its highest setting, customers could easily drive through a city “without ever touching the brake pedal”.

If the prototype is representative of the final product, then Mini could be on to a winner with the Electric, according to Auto Express.

The carmaker has “crucially” retained the hatchback’s “lively driving dynamics”, blending with “a well-integrated electric powertrain that will attract converts to the technology”, the magazine says. “If the pricing is right, it could be a hit.”

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