A new electric car needs at least 200 miles of range.
The days are gone when buying an electric car means sacrificing on range compared to an internal combustion engine. Cars like the Tesla Model S provide nearly double that, but that sort of range does come at an enormous cost. However, even cars like the Nissan Leaf Plus, Kia Niro EV and Hyundai Kona Electric all provide more than 200 miles of range. So does the new Audi e-tron, which joins the club just over that bar at 204 miles of range. So when Mini brings along its first all-electric model called the Mini Cooper SE with just 167 miles of range — at least according to European test cycles — is that really enough?
Granted, this Mini Cooper SE is physically smaller than most of its U.S.-bound competition. It has a 181 horsepower electric motor sending drive to the front wheels, drawing power from a 12-module 32.6 kWh battery pack. Mini claims a 0-60 time of 7.3 seconds, about the same as a standard Mini Cooper.
That 167 miles of range is on the generous side of available estimates. Automotive News estimates the Mini Cooper SE will manage an EPA-estimated range of just 114 miles. That puts it in the same range as the Volkswagen e-Golf, which has 125 miles of range and is soon going out of production.
It will come down to price
The 2020 Mini Cooper SE takes its powertrain from the BMW i3s. As you’d expect, it’s estimated at about the same range as the i3. That’s fine, in theory, but it also comes down to how much the Mini Cooper SE is going to cost. After all, the 62 kWh manages around 215 miles of range for $36,550 and up.
Mini did not announce official pricing for its all-electric model yet, so where it will sit against its competition is a mystery. At the end of the day, this car still looks like a Mini. What’s more, it still has all the practicality of a Mini, as the cargo space is the same as the normal two-door Mini Hardtop. Mini lifted the electric model’s body by 18 millimeters (0.7 inches) to accommodate the battery pack, but says it doesn’t affect cargo space.
On the up side, its relatively small battery means it won’t take long to charge. The 2020 Mini Cooper SE is capable of charging on a 50 kW DC fast charger, and can charge up to 80 percent capacity in 35 minutes. However, 50 kW is the maximum level of fast charger it can use.
Again, this is a small car, and most will likely take it out on their commute. The BMW i3 has managed with relatively short range, and the 2020 Mini Cooper SE will likely fare just fine in an urban environment. Taking longer trips will take some more planning, but with electric cars crossing the 200-mile threshold, will the Mini Cooper SE be able to compete? We will have to see how the pricing falls.
If you’re looking for a bit of nostalgia, check out this electric classic Mini below: