I’m going to declare an interest here. The Mini E was the first electric car I travelled in, and I was converted within the first minute! No I’m not talking about the new Mini Electric, but this was 2009 and I was lucky enough to get a joy ride on private roads in a prototype Mini E.
It was obvious this was going to be the future. Punchy acceleration, low noise, smoothness and no tailpipe emissions. OK there were some downsides to this prototype. Like a battery where the back seat should be, meaning this was a strict 2 seater…. But even by current standards the spec was pretty decent. 35kWh battery, with a stated range of 156 miles and 0-60mph in 8 seconds from the 204bhp/150kW motor.
A few hundred were built on lease. This was the start of BMW’s i program, with this technology ultimately ending up in the BMW i3 and i8. Jay Leno still has one – see the Jay Leno’s Garage clip at the end of this post.
So about a decade later (no rush guys…:-) you can now order a production Mini Electric (a battery EV as opposed to the Mini PHEV which has been on sale for some time). Deliveries are expected March 2020.
The running gear is heavily based on the BMW i3S (which we recently tested – review coming soon) but it is slightly slower due to a more conventional/heavy construction than the fancy pants carbon-fibre beemer. Most people will find 184bhp/270Nm and 0-60 in 7.3sec entirely adequate though! Based on our experience of other Minis you can expect handling to be go-kart like and a lot of fun.
The 32.6kWh battery has a published WLTP range of up to 144 miles – EVchoice predicts a real-world range of nearer 115-120 miles. Prices start at £24,400 (after the £3,500 Gov grant). We like it and are looking forward to doing some handbrake turns a la Leno!