Because battery tech is improving all the time.
The big news from Mini these days is the launch of the new Cooper SE – its first mass-produced all-electric vehicle. But the battery-powered hatchback isn't the only electrified model it offers. And "the other one" has now been treated to a major upgrade.
Alongside the Cooper SE hatchback at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show later this month, Mini will present an enhanced version of the Cooper S E Countryman All4. The plug-in hybrid crossover is being fitted with a larger-capacity battery pack, expanded by about 30 percent from 7.7 kWh to 10.
Despite the added capacity, the new battery has the same exterior dimensions as the old one, and fits under the rear seats to preserve cargo space. It powers an electric motor that, together with the 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder internal-combustion engine and six-speed automatic transmission, delivers a combined output of 221 horsepower – same as before, but now it can travel for about 35 miles (30 percent longer than before) on electric power. It takes five hours to charge from empty to completely full using a standard power socket, or just 3 hours and 15 minutes from a dedicated wallbox charger.
Despite its larger size and added weight, the hybrid crossover is actually quicker off the line than the new three-door EV. Where the 184-horsepower Cooper SE will hit 62 mph from a standstill in 7.3 seconds, the 221-hp Cooper S E Countryman All4 takes just 6.8 seconds – more than half a second quicker. But the hatch, despite its otherwise somewhat lackluster range (relative to some other EVs), is entirely powered by electricity, so it will inevitably travel longer on electric power than the plug-in hybrid: between 146 and 168 miles, by the manufacturer's estimate – more than four times as far as the Countryman PHEV's electric range.