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Oh, and if you’re into fun-looking EVs with wildly outdated range numbers, it’ll set you back $30,750.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