Mini Electric breaks cover

Originally Published: July 2019

It debuted at the Oxford plant with a 144-mile range

The brand's first all-electric model Mini Electric has been unveiled at the Oxford plant as the marque celebrates turning sixty.

Based on the three-door hatch body, the new model features specific badging, unique-to-model two-tone alloys and has the charging port located above the rear right wheel – where the fuel cap would usually live.

Power comes from 12 lithium-ion cells with a 32.6kWh capacity, sat in a 'T' shape in the vehicle floor between the front seats and below the rears.

This means that the Mini Electric has the same 211-litre luggage capacity as models who rely on fossil fuels, and it will expand upwards to 731-litres with the back seats flattened.

It's 184bhp motor is the latest from the BMW Group, and produces 199lbf.ft with a sprint to 62mph taking 7.3 seconds, but more importantly it has a range of up to 144-miles.

With the added support for the motor and battery, the Mini electric weights 145kg more than a combustion Cooper S 3-door. But, the added weight does have positives, as it lowers the cars centre of gravity by 30mm and the lack of weight over the front wheels means that it has a better weight distribution for dynamic driving.

Dynamic Stability Control is in place to help avoid wheelspin from either a stand still or when exiting corners. The Mini Electric also features the option of low-level energy when the driver's foot is lifted from the accelerator and it works regardless of driving mode.

Those driving modes are Sport, Mid and Green. These offer sharper steering and power delivery in Sport, whilst steering and the accelerator are neutral in Mid and Green subdues the power further. Green+ then restricts a few comfort functions – such as air conditioning – to preserve range to an even greater extent.

The new digital dash features a 5.5-inch screen behind the steering wheel, showing road speed alongside battery charge, which driver aids are active and the usual mileage, temperature and available range.

It also flashes instructions from the sat nav, and, when the vehicle is charging, it changes colour depending on status as well as showing the total charge time.

On the subject of charging, the Mini Electric comes with both home and public charging cables for both AC and DC charging using Type 2 and CCS Combo 2 plugs. There's also a handy charge level indicator that means you don't have to unlock the car or climb into it to see how it's doing. It shows orange when you begin charging, flashes yellow whilst under charge and will go solid green when it is full.

The Mini Electric can go from empty to 80% full in 35 minutes – with the help of a 50kWh fast-charging station. More useful to many, it will charge from flat to full on 11kw AC in 210 minutes.

The navigation system has its own Green suggestions, factoring in the levels of power consumption, and the system also shows a circle highlighting the vehicle's current range.

Elsewhere in the interior, there is a 6.5-inch touchscreen multimedia system,  with live traffic updates, Mini Online and Apple CarPlay whilst it also has a dedicated map showing the nearest charging stations along with the current battery levels.

Those striking yellow side mirror caps and grille inserts are actually grey as standard, and there is a choice of 16 or 17" wheels and optional two-tone bodywork, too.

Dual zone climate control comes as standard, and is more efficient, too, with the heater using 75% less than the usual counterpart.

Pricing begins at £24,400 on the road for the standard trim and taking off the government plug-in car grant. The mid-level trim gives leather-look upholstery, heated seats, a rear parking camera, driver aids and additional styling options. This model will cost from £26,400 with a grant. You can upgrade further, and get an 8.8-inch touchscreen, parking aid, a heads up display and Harmon Kardon sound system – for a price of £30,400.

Orders are open today, and with a £4,000 deposit, the Mini Electric is available to lease for £299 per month. First deliveries are due in March 2020.

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