THIS YEAR marks two big milestones for the MINI brand: its 60th anniversary and the launch of its first ever pure-electric production car.
If you’re thinking, “Hang on, MINI already launched an electric car: the MINI E,” you’re not wrong. However, that was merely an experimental test bed vehicle, and the 600 that were built were designed to help inform the production of BMW’s ‘i’ range of plug-in vehicles. Along with the BMW 1 Series ActiveE, the MINI E led directly to the BMW i3.
But the MINI Electric will be MINI’s first true production electric car, available to order from dealers later this year. Here’s what you need to know.
What is the MINI Electric?
Six decades after the iconic original Mini burst onto the scene, a fully electric version is set to bring the brand’s now familiar sense of fun and sporty feel to the electric car scene.
The MINI Electric will also attempt to blend the desirability of the MINI with the zero-emissions appeal of an electric powertrain. It’s expected there won’t be any practicality concessions in squeezing a battery packs into the package, either, as the MINI Electric will likely have similar rear seat and boot space to the regular three-door hatch.
As the Mini hatchback is one of the UK’s most popular new cars, the MINI Electric will also be a very interesting barometer of consumer interest in pure-electric hatchbacks.
How quick is the MINI Electric?
Powertrain details haven’t been revealed yet, though the MINI Electric will likely use a similar electric motor setup to the BMW i3. As a result, it’s expected to produce approximately 168bhp and 184lb-ft of torque, which propels the BMW from standstill to 62mph in 7.3sec.
Range details also haven’t been confirmed, but up to 200 miles per charge of the battery is probably not far off, using the official tests, with real world range more likely around 150 miles, but these are just educated guesses at this time and, as with other electric models, bigger and better batteries can be dropped in over time to offer more range.
Likewise, charging times should be similar to those of the BMW i3 (between three and five hours using a dedicated 7kW domestic wall box), and the MINI Electric should also be compatible with two types of on-street rapid chargers, with a full charge taking three hours via 11kW AC units or 40 minutes via a 50kW DC post.
What tech will the MINI Electric have?
Aside from the electric powertrain, most of the technology available on the MINI Electric should be carried over from the standard MINI three-door hatchback. Therefore, expect to see features such as a touchscreen interface, DAB digital radio, heated wing mirrors and LED foglights. Electric cars are often highly specced as standard, so other features such as all-round parking sensors and a reversing camera may also be included in the base price.
Being a MINI, it’s also likely there’ll also be lots of optional extras to choose from.
Extensive customisation options are expected too – though expect some items, such as the alloy wheel design and the yellow colour accents seen on the concept car in the pictures, may be used to help MINI electrics stand out from the rest of the range.
When will the MINI Electric go on sale?
MINI unveiled the concept version of the car (seen in the pics) at the Frankfurt Motor Show way back in September 2017, but the production spec model will be launched at some point this year (it could be one of the stars of the Geneva Motor Show in March), with order books expected to open before the end of the year. Deliveries of the first customer cars will likely commence in early 2020.
Where will the MINI Electric be built?
MINI has confirmed that its new pure-electric hatch will be built in Britain, at its Oxford plant (that’s whatever happens with Brexit).
How much will the MINI Electric cost?
Prices won’t be confirmed until closer to the on-sale date, though it’s expected the MINI Electric will be available to buy for between £25,000 and £30,000. Buyers will also be able to benefit from the current £3,500 government grant towards the purchase of pure-electric vehicles – assuming there are no more sudden changes to the rules on plug-in car grants before it goes on sale.
What will the MINI Electric’s rivals be?
Electric car buyers are becoming spoilt for choice, with new models arriving all the time. Those in the market for a MINI Electric may also want to look at the pioneering Nissan LEAF and Renault Zoe, as well as the upmarket BMW i3, VW e-Golf and Tesla Model 3. Other options will include the Kia Soul EV, Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Hyundai Kona EV and an all-electric version of the upcoming new Vauxhall Corsa, which is expected to go on sale in 2020.