Everything you need to know about the MINI Electric
This week Chris tests a MINI Electric, MINI's first all electric model. Chris talks us through his experiences and addresses common concerns of those considering purchasing or running an electric vehicle as their next car.
Introducing the MINI Electric
The MINI Electric is the first all-electric MINI joining the electrified MINI Countryman plug-in hybrid. Introduced in 2020 and recently facelifted the MINI Electric offers traditional MINI DNA, brand experience and looks combined with the very latest electric drivetrain technology. The MINI Electric can be specified to stand out from the crowd or to look more subtle, the choice is yours.
With a 135kW motor the MINI Electric provides excitement with instant torque and 0-62mph in just 7.3 seconds. It has the same trademark go-kart handling with the additional benefits of emitting zero driving emissions and costing less to run than a combustion engine equivalent with a mile costing from 4p. The battery provides a range of up to 145 miles and the MINI Electric supports rapid charging to allow charging from 20-80% in less than 30 minutes.
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MINI Electric Specification
|Drivetrain||135kW Synchronous electric motor with 32.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack|
|Acceleration||0-62mph in 7.3 seconds|
|Charging Time||20-80% 30 minutes|
Living with a MINI Electric
The MINI hatch has been recently updated with the latest technology and more taut, chiselled styling. With smaller grille openings and a large single frame grille in the centre
If you want, you can have it like the car pictured – with bright yellow trim panels and retro alloys that are shaped like three-pin plug sockets. But you can also specify the car to blend in more with a range of colors and wheels to choose from and rely on the unique styling of the MINI without having to stand out.
The MINI Electric is instantly recognisable as a MINI.
Inside the MINI Electric is traditional MINI with high quality materials and finishes, combing the latest technology with character.
The central 8.8" touch screen comes with navigation and charging point information as standard, as well as supporting smartphone connectivity and a range of other features. This display is supported by the Digital Driver's Display which hosts a range of driving information. Adding character are the chrome toggle switches, start/stop switch, yellow electric accents and customisable ambient lighting.
The battery is housed deep in the chassis so that interior space is not compromised, the boot is the same 211 litres in capacity and there is the same rear seats and space as the regular MINI hatch.
The first thing I noticed getting into the MINI Electric compared to my own MINI John Cooper Works was the updated interior with its Digital Dashboard, updated design, latest infotainment and electric handbrake. Starting the MINI Electric is a silent experience and moving off with no noise felt surreal but relaxing.
The MINI Electric defaults to the strongest brake regeneration setting in which you can almost completely drive using just the accelerator pedal, lifting off to slow down which activates the regen braking. Only rarely did I need to use the brake pedal when needing to slow down quickly or to hold the car in traffic. This effect is strange at first but you quickly adapt to it and it soon feels second nature.
The instant torque provided by an electric motor, the low centre of gravity in the MINI Electric due to the batteries being low in the car and near perfect weight distribution all contribute to an incredibly fun driving experience. Whilst the MINI Electric is raised by 18mm to give the batteries greater clearance the suspension is tuned in a similar way to the Cooper S. The driving experience of a MINI is often compared to a go-kart but the MINI Electric takes this one step further and for pure driving dynamics I'd choose the MINI Electric over my JCW. I would argue the MINI Electric is one of the most fun electric hatchbacks on the market especially under £30,000.
The first charge I did with the MINI Electric was at a public charging point.
The process was simple, insert the cable provided with the car into the charging port of the car. Then confirm the charge with the charging station operator using their mobile app which covers payment. Once confirmed, the status light surround the charging port glows green and the car's dashboard and the MINI Connected app display the charging status and the time remaining to reach a full charge. The car can then be locked and the cable will lock in as well.
When returning the car simply unlock using the key, pull out the cable and return it to the boot.
The drive mode toggle in the centre console allows you to switch between Sport, Mid, Green and Green + modes. Each configure the driving dynamics to achieve the maximum performance or maximum efficiency. Sport mode increases the go-kart feeling increasing the responsiveness of the accelerator and allowing access to the full power of the electric motor. Whereas Green + aims to provide as many miles per charge as possible by switching off the air conditioning and other non-vital functions which use battery power and decreasing the responsiveness of the accelerator.
These modes give the MINI Electric a range of characters and adds to its versatility so the car can match your current driving priority.
MINI Trim Levels
The Level 1 from £26,000 includes:
- MINI Navigation with 8.8" Screen
- Smartphone Connectivity including Apple CarPlay
- Digital Cockpit
- AC/DC Charging
- Cruise Control
- Dual Zone AC
The Level 2 from £28,000 includes in addition:
- Driving Assistant Pack - Traffic Sign Recognition, High Beam Assistance, Collision Avoidance
- Rear View Park Assist Camera
- Comfort Access
- Heated Seats
- Rear Parking Sensors
The Level 3 from £32,000 includes in addition:
- Wireless Phone Charging
- Rear View Park Assist Camera
- Head Up Display
- Front and Rear Parking Sensors with Park Assist
- Adaptive LED Headlights
- Panoramic Sunroof
- Harman/Kardon Speakers
- Full Leather Interior
MINI Electric In Detail
No you don’t, in fact the quickest charging happens between 20 and 80%, so frequent top ups within this range can be more convenient and preserve battery health.
Fully charging the battery will however give you the maximum range for longer journeys. The battery is designed to last the lifetime of the car even with frequent charges outside of the 20-80% range.
To charge the MINI Electric you simply open the charging port which is located in the same place as the fuel cap on the regular MINI hatch. Then either use the charging cable supplied with the car or the charging cable attached to the charging station and insert the cable into the car. Follow the instructions on the charging station such as payment instructions and confirmation, then check the car is charging. The status light around the charging port should illuminate green and the dashboard will give a prediction of when the battery will be fully charged.
Lock the car and leave it to charge. When returning simply unlock the car and use the unlock button next to the charging port to remove the cable. If the cable belongs to the car return to the boot.
The fastest charging takes place between 20-80% battery capacity, outside of these charging is slower to protect the battery. Other factors also affect the charging rate such as – temperature (colder temperatures slow charging rate), the charging rate and the size of the battery.
Officially though between 0% to 100% these are the times:
• At home with a 3-pin plug, 14 hours to charge, giving 10 miles per hour charged.
• Home wallbox, 9 hours, 16 miles per hour charged.
• 7kW Public charger, 5 hours, 29 miles per hour charged.
• 22kW Public charger, 3 hours, 46 miles per hour charged.
- 50kW Public charger, 30 minutes, 103 miles per 30 minutes charged.
At home to work out how much it will cost to charge your car, check the battery’s capacity and your electricity rate. For the MINI Electric this is 32.6kWh and for myself 11p per kwh. 0.11x 32.6 = £3.58 for a range of up to 145 miles. This means that each mile costs 2p. Whilst individual situation will influence the cost. This is still a large cost saving compared to a regular petrol car such as a Cooper S which costs approx. 10p per mile.
At a public charger the costs can vary. Some are free for customers such as Pod-Points at Tesco. Whereas others can cost money, using apps such as Pod-Point and Zap-Map you can see nearby chargers, if they are available and how much they cost. Quite a common cost for public chargers was 30p per kWh or a flat rate connection fee often around £1 then free after. The rapid chargers I found at service stations also cost around 30p per kWh which whilst costing more than at home is much quicker to charge and still costs less than running a combustion engine car.
The MINI Electric car be charged with a Type 2 connector at home, work or at a public charging point. There is also a CCS connector for rapid charging. Both charging cables plug in to the same charging port on the car under what would usually be the fuel filler cap.
It may not be possible to have a home charger installed at home due to reasons such as not having off-road parking, renting or having parking not close enough to your home.
In these situations it is still possible to run an electric car. It is most convenient to charge an electric car where it is parked (which is almost 95% of the time for a car), using chargepoints at these locations. For most people this is at home but other frequent destinations may also have chargepoints such as work, shopping centres and leisure centres. Then less frequent longer journeys can benefit from on-route rapid chargers found at service stations.
Workplace charging and charging as part of a commute such as at a train station car park, in more normal times in particular serves as a good opportunity for people who cannot charge at home. As people often spend over 8 hours at work which is plenty of time to charge the car and most people’s commutes are less than 30 miles. I know that with my commute of 8 miles, I could commute everyday of the week in the MINI Electric and only have the charge the car once a week or once a day for an hour using a home charger.
Electric Drivetrain Technology
Next to the driving mode toggle is the toggle for the regenerative braking which in its strongest default setting allows one pedal driving in almost all driving situations, in doing this it recovers energy from braking and charges the battery. This feature can be configured in the same way as the driving modes allow the character to be changed. Simply toggle the switch to reduce or increase the regenerative braking.
The driving experience of the MINI Electric is different to a conventional combustion engine car. This is due to a few reasons:
- The car does not 'creep' like a normal automatic car would. Instead you need to feather the accelerator pedal for slow speed maneuvers.
- Instant torque. The instant torque available means the car accelerates much quicker than you expect and with the added silence the car feels even faster. The torque available makes it easy to accelerate from traffic lights, roundabouts and to overtake.
- One pedal driving. It is possible to drive the MINI Electric almost completely using just the accelerator pedal as when you lift off the regenerative braking is strong enough to slow the car almost to a halt. Only occasionally did I actually use the brake pedal.
The MINI Electric should cost less than an equivalent petrol powered car such as a MINI Cooper S to service and maintain. With the same service intervals but because there are fewer moving parts there are fewer parts to maintain and repair. Plus consumables such as engine oil and oil filters are not used in an electric motor so these will not require the frequent changes that a combustion engine car does.
MINI offers servicing plans which cost from just £10 a month to cover all of your servicing needs.
Just like any other car, once the MINI Electric reaches its 36 month anniversary it will require an annual MOT which can cost up to £54.85.
The MINI has an official electric range of up to 145 miles. I found that the MINI Electric was easily capable of returning over 120 miles range without adapting my driving style and having the climate control set to how it would be in a petrol car. Therefore, with more careful driving and using the Green + mode I would expect over 130 miles to be achievable.
Plus the MINI Electric supports rapid charging so 20-80% battery charge can be achieved in under 30 minutes. Which will provide up to a further 100 miles to continue long journeys.
Purchase, Tax and Grants
The Mini Electric benefits from a range of low tax, grants and exemptions. The car benefits from £0 road tax, London Congestion Charge exemption (although a £10 admin fee is still required each year) and free entry into Ultra Low Emission Zones.
Company car drivers benefit as well as the BIK value is 1% for 2021/22 at a value of £280. 2% for 2022/23 and 2023/24. Whereas, a MINI Cooper S would have a BIK value of 32%, so the MINI Electric offers big savings.
The MINI Electric is eligible for the OZEV (Office for Zero Emission Vehicles) Plug-in Car Grant which provides a £2500 contribution to the list price of the car and a OZEV EVHS Grant (Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme) grant which contributes £350 towards the cost of installing a wall box. This can be further backed with an EST (Energy Saving Trust) Domestic Charge Point Grant if you live in Scotland.
The MINI Electric has LED lights front and rear which are not only clearer and brighter they are more energy efficient than halogen bulbs. At the rear are the signature union jack lights.
The Matrix function of the LED headlights automatically adjusts to the driving conditions and other road users, always illuminating as much of the road as far as possible whilst not dazzling other users. The driver does not need to do anything.
Click find out more to explore the MINI Electric's technology.
The MINI Electric features a Digital Dashboard with specific features for the Electric. In the centre of the screen the speed, range, speed limit/signs and other key features, to the right is the battery charge percentage and to the left the amount of power or charge being used or generated.
This feature really adds to the MINI experience, bringing the cabin right up to date and is standard for the MINI Electric range.
Click find out more to explore the MINI Electric's technology.
This optional pack uses a front facing camera which can recognise road signs and display to the driver. It can also at speeds between 6 and 37mph provide a pedestrian warning, collision warning and automatically brake to help prevent a collision or reduce the impact.
At higher speeds the system can register potential collisions and precondition the brakes and other functions to aid responsiveness and reduce the chance of collision or the impact speed.
MINI Electric Summary
The MINI Electric is a fantastic option if you want a MINI but want an all electric car. The MINI Electric stays true to its DNA, looking like and driving like any other sporty MINI, it retains that iconic MINI feeling and puts a smile on your face every time you drive it.
You can customise it to stand out from the crowd and show off that its an all electric car or you can blend in, the choice is yours. The MINI Electric offers a complete package, fun driving dynamics, a range of up to 145 miles, rapid charging capability and the latest technology. Its a strong addition to the MINI family which I recommend you give a test drive.
To experience the fun of the MINI Electric for yourself click book now.