MINI Cooper Electric SE
The MINI Drive, Electrified
Base MSRP: From $29,900 to $36,900
- Signature – From $29,900
- Signature Plus – From $33,900
- Iconic – From $36,900
Tax credit: Up to $7,500
EPA Range: 110 miles, pure electric
Battery: 33 kWh
Charging Acceptance Rate: 7.4 kW
Performance: single electric motor, 181 horsepower
Mileage estimate: 95-115 MPGe
Price estimate: From $22,400 to $29,400
Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles
Drivetrain warranty: 4 years/50,000
Roadside assistance: 4 years/unlimited miles
Corrosion warranty: 12 years/unlimited miles
Reviews of the MINI Cooper SE
2020 MINI Electric
There’s no doubt that interest in electric vehicles is on the rise among U.S. car buyers. However, one important item can prevent someone from pulling the trigger on an EV purchase – cost!
In many instances, going electric means swallowing a sticker price that is often higher than a similar gas-powered vehicle. Sure, the tradeoff is terrific mileage and never having to pull into a gas station again for a costly fill-up. The savings of buying an EV will be justified in the end is the premise people wrestle with when it’s decision time.
The new 2020 Mini Cooper SE serves as an example of an EV that makes the decision much easier. Is the Mini SE is cheap? How cheap? Does driving one of the dealer lot and eventually paying less than $19,000 sound appealing? By all means, it should!
The Mini has the current distinction of being the most affordable EV on the market. It doesn’t start out that way; the entry-level model is approximately $30,750. But subtract the $7,500 federal tax credit and the starting price now resides at $23,250.
For Californians, the incentives don’t stop at the federal level. The state inducements can reach $4,500 – an applied $2,000, and an additional $2,500 that’s subject to the buyer’s income qualifications. If all the incentives are given, that drops the Mini SE price tag to $18,750, by far the lowest among any EV as of September 2020.
Although the price is cheap, the product isn’t. Owned by BMW, which is making a huge commitment to EVs, the Mini SE is a cool little two-door hatchback that looks good and runs well. It’s also been called cute, so the anticipation here is that women will fall in love with its style.
Interested buyers can pre-order a 2020 Mini Cooper SE with a $500 reservation fee. Mini deliveries are expected to begin in early 2021. In September of this year, MINI said there was an overwhelming demand and inventory was low.
BMW, MINI’s parent company, is counting on electric vehicles as a bridge to the future. Heading into July of 2020, nearly 8 percent of the company’s total sales were (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).
BMW’s ambitious plan starts with launching 25 new electrified models by 2023. The company announced it will invest $563 million, taking a huge step to bolster its electric-car manufacturing capabilities to better compete with other green rivals. The major investment will reportedly allow BMW to build more than 500,000 electric-based vehicles a year by 2022.
Offered in three trim levels (Signature, Signature Plus, Iconic), the Mini SE is quirky looking and brimming with character. The tires are unusual – Mini calls them “Power Spokes,” and they provide a rather futuristic look. That look includes highlighted yellow accents on the exterior mirrors and the grille.
There are certainly other EVs that provide more range. But the Mini SE can travel 110 miles before a charge is required, which is more than some EV rivals and more than double the range of many plug-in hybrids.
Vehicle Power and Speed
The MINI Cooper SE is a front-wheel-drive hatchback that is powered by a single electric motor mounted under its hood. Its performance is deceiving because that single motor generates 181 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. The MINI SE is strong off the line, going 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds and delivers a maximum speed of 93 mph.
Expect responsive steering, a sporty feel, and a ride devoid of noise when driving the MINI SE. The vehicle has tall and wide windows and no real blind spots. It features two levels of regenerative braking for the driver to select. It always defaults to high regenerative braking upon startup; low regen can be ignited by a switch on the center console.
Where the small hatchback comes up lacking is seating. Although there’s adequate room up front, the tight back seat will leave two adults extremely uncomfortable. Some MINI owners may want to use the rear seat primarily as an extension of the trunk, which is on the small side at 9.3 cubic feet.
Standard interior features include heated seats and mirrors, 6.5-inch display with navigation, Apple CarPlay, and black leatherette upholstery. An oval display above the steering wheel provides some pertinent information such as speed, charging status, range, and power usage. Safety features include auto rain-sensing wipers, pedestrian warning, and active driving-assistant aid with forward-collision warning.
A fast-charging station will have the MINI’s 32.6-kWh battery pack at 80 percent in roughly 35 minutes, while a 240-volt Level 2 at-home charger produces a full charge in about 5.5 hours. Keep in mind that most electric vehicle drivers are in the habit of regular charging. Depending on commute and lifestyle it’s likely that a full charge (0%-100%) is an uncommon occurance. With a Level 2 charging station, nearly 25 miles of range can be added per hour of charging.
A terrific bottom-line price will no doubt bring the new 2020 MINI SE lots of curious car shoppers. Yet there’s more to like than just the price, a fact that should make this quirky hatchback popular in the U.S. market.