Mini responds to criticism about its first fully electric car's range.
This week marked the unveiling of Mini's first-ever fully electric model, the Cooper SE. But while the original Mini was a game-changer when it launched 60 years ago, the electric Cooper SE isn't quite as revolutionary as we had hoped. The electric Mini still sounds like it will be a hoot to drive, with the i3's dated powertrain doing the motivation. However, the 32.6 kWh battery pack provides an EPA-estimated range of only 114 miles per charge.
In 2019, that's not very impressive considering that competitors such as the Nissan Leaf can last over 200 miles without running out of juice. Speaking to Automotive News, BMW's production chief, Oliver Zipse, defended the Mini Cooper SE's short-range.
Zipse responded to critics of the Cooper SE's short-range by saying that adding a bigger battery with a longer range would have simply made the Mini Cooper SE too expensive for its target audience. "It's an urban car and 140 miles is exactly on the sweet spot," he said, referring to Europe's WLPT estimate. "There are not so many electric cars in that price range." US pricing hasn't been confirmed yet, but the electric Mini starts at £24,400 ($30,602) including the government's £3,500 electric vehicle grant, making it cheaper than the BMW i3.
Mini added that performance has been prioritized over range. Its electric motor generates 184 horsepower, allowing the electric hatchback to accelerate from 0-62 mph in 7.3 seconds and hit a top speed of 93 mph while also retaining the hatchback's nimble go-kart handling.
While it may not be very revolutionary, the Mini Cooper SE will be one of the most affordable electric cars on the market. As a result, Mini is expecting strong demand for its first fully electric car and has already received interest from 20,000 potential customers. It will soon face stiff competition from the Volkswagen ID.3, however, which launches in Europe later this year. VW hasn't confirmed if it will go on sale in the US though, which could give Mini an advantage Stateside.