Sporty New All Electric Mini Cooper Offers 114 Mile Range

Posted by at 3:12 pm on July 11, 2019

Mini’s first series-production battery electric vehicle is better suited for a spirited run across town than a lengthy road trip. On Tuesday, BMW’s iconic British brand launched the Mini Cooper SE. Assembly begins in November in Oxford, U.K., with U.S. deliveries expected in early 2020. U.S. pricing was not disclosed, but it will start at 32,000 euros ($35,800) in Europe.

The Cooper SE offers Mini’s traditional “go kart” handling. It’s powered by a 135 kilowatt motor that delivers 181 hp and is capable of going from 0 to 62 mph in 7.3 seconds. Timed for Mini’s 60th anniversary, the EV arrives as the brand grapples with an existential crisis. Customers, especially in the U.S., have ditched microcars for roomy crossovers.

The Cooper EV, available in three trims, is a coupling of two existing models. It shares the body style and proportions of the current two-door Mini Hardtop, last redesigned in 2014.

Rather than build the SE on a new platform, similar to what Jaguar did with the iPace and Chevrolet with the Bolt, BMW used the same powertrain as its battery electric i3s subcompact. BMW is developing its fifth-generation electric powertrain that will debut on the new iX3 electric crossover expected to go into production next year.

The SE’s motor and power electronics are packaged in a sub-assembly that fits in the same space as a conventional Mini’s engine and transaxle. The T-shaped, 12-module battery pack sits along the vehicle floor, helping lower the center of gravity and improving handling.

At the heart of the SE is a 32.6 kilowatt-hour battery anticipated to have an EPA-estimated range of about 114 miles. That handicaps the new entrant in the world of modern electrics, where 200-plus miles of range is considered table stakes. While the SE won’t go far on a single charge, filling the battery won’t take too long. Using DC fast charging, the EV can recharge its battery to 80 percent in 35 minutes.

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