The 2020 Mini Cooper SE Electric's Price Is Slightly Less Disappointing Than Its Range

Composite by the author
Photo: Mini

It’s hard to believe that it was ten years ago that BMW/Mini first offered (well, in a limited release) an electric car, the Mini E. That EV Mini could go 100 miles on a full charge (though at the time it was sometimes reported as 156 miles, which must have been under utopian circumstances). This all-new 2020 Mini Cooper SE has a range of 114 miles, a solid decade later. That’s, uh, pretty shitty.

Oh, and if you’re into fun-looking EVs with wildly outdated range numbers, it’ll set you back $30,750.

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Of course, there is the possibility of getting up to $7,500 in federal tax credits and state incentives, but even so, a car like the Hyundai Kona isn’t all that much more ($36,950) and can go 258 miles per charge. Really, if you’re a budget-conscious EV buyer, a Nissan Leaf starts under 30 grand and goes 150 miles per charge. Or you could find a two-year-old Fiat 500e for under $10,000.

Granted, the 500e’s range is extremely limited and even the VW eGolf everybody seems to love claims a modest 125-mile range. But that’s still more than 114.

The Mini Cooper SE isn’t all bad, though: Mini managed to cram the T-shaped battery underfloor without reducing any of the Mini’s rear luggage space, I like the odd asymmetrical wheels, and the taillights are by far the best-in-class choice for anyone buying a car based on vexillological reasons.

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The electric Mini has decent power, 181 electric horses running through those front wheels, and looks good, but the unimpressive range, like the result of jamming a BMW i3 drivetrain into a converted ICE Mini instead of a designing a clean-sheet EV, just makes me wonder if this will be able to compete at all beyond hardcore Mini-lovers.

Mini is a good choice for an EV brand. They need to take another crack at this.

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About the author

Jason Torchinsky

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)