But does it really matter?
The new Mini Cooper SE might be small, but don't let that visual weight fool you. It's heavy (319 pounds more than the standard Cooper) and only has a 32.6-kilowatt-hour battery pack to get it where it needs to go. In Europe, under the WLTP formula for estimating range, the SE comes in at 146 miles on a single charge.
We already know that cycles used for WLTP testing are more lenient compared to the EPA's rating system, and thus Mini is preparing expectations by letting us know that it will likely show only around 110 miles on a single charge. Relatively speaking, that's not an attractive number with other vehicles boasting anywhere between 200 and 300 estimated miles of range between charges.
Against the direct competition in the Mini Cooper SE's price bracket, it's not an ideal number either when the little Nissan Leaf can claim 150 miles, and the 2020 Ioniq Electric's model has now been bumped up to 170 miles. Even the funky little Kia Soul manages to fit in a 64-kWh battery pack to go 243 miles on a charge.
The good news for fans of the little Mini is that it boasts more power than either of the economy driven cars, and is arguably more fashionable. The Mini pushes 181 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque through the front wheels compared with Ioniq's paltry 137 hp and the Leaf's 147 horses. Closer in power figures is the 201 hp Kia Soul and its generous 291 lb-ft of torque, but much higher price. Also in the mix is the e-Golf with its 134 hp and 214 lb-ft of torque and fun to drive chassis.
What attracts us to the Mini Cooper SE is its base price of just $29,900, before incentives, which is the same as a Nissan Leaf but a less boring car. With incentives and a $7,500 federal tax credit, that should get the Mini's sticker price much closer to the $20,000 mark for a fun little electric car. The Signature plus starts at $33,900 while at the top of the line, the Iconic trim starts at $36,900. Even at top trim level, that's cheaper than a Standard Range Plus Tesla Model 3 at $39,990 and Tesla is only a few weeks away from losing all federal tax credits. The base model Mini also out prices the super-fun Volkswagen e-Golf that starts at $31,895 until it goes out of production at the end of the 2019 model year.
If you're thinking powerful and funky little EV though, the Kia Soul starts at $35,000, so a Signature Plus trimmed Mini SE saves $5,100 at the cost of range and torque. If the Mini SE's chassis drives as good as it looks, though, we'll be sorely tempted to save our money, shrug our shoulders, and plug it in a couple of times a week.