Basically, if you want a compact electric vehicle (EV) but the BMW i3 isn’t for you, then this little hatch definitely will be. The all-electric Mini, the Cooper SE, was announced today and features a 270km maximum range and a 7.3-second 0-100km/h time. BMW says the SE “will be available for sale in South Africa, in limited quantities, from the first quarter of 2021”. We can’t wait to drive it.
The Cooper SE is labeled as the “first purely electrically powered premium small car” (ahem, what about the i3?). Its design combines just about everything lovable about a Mini Cooper with a zero-emissions powertrain. That means great acceleration and more space in the cabin and boot.
Some EV swag
Powering the Mini Cooper SE is a 135kW electric motor that puts out 270Nm of torque. Its powertrain is actually very similar to the BMW i3 with the major difference being that the Mini powers its front wheels and the i3 the rear. The SE can go from 0-60km/h in just under four seconds and has a top speed of 150km/h. In other words, it’s going to be fast off the line. Very fast.
It’s fitted with a 32.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack with enough juice for 235 to 270 kilometres — which is a fair amount of city driving for most people. A full charge will take three and a half hours on an 11kW charger, and the fast-charging 50kW station should get it to 80% in just 35 minutes.
Mini will also throw in a lot of goodies as standard for buyers, like LED headlights, two-zone automatic AC, a 6.5in infotainment system with navigation, and even auxiliary heating. At an additional cost, there’s a bigger 8.8in touchscreen, leather upholstery, along with a choice of four exterior and interior packages featuring different exterior finishes, wheel designs, seat upholsteries, and cabin trims. It all depends on how deep your pockets are for EV swag.
Of course, South Africa isn’t at the top of many EV manufacturers’ lists when it comes to distribution… but one of the few exceptions to that is BMW, which has introduced multiple versions of the i3 into the local market, along with various iterations of the hybrid i8. Hopefully the company’s decision to add the electric Mini to its lineup will encourage other carmakers to consider bringing their compact EVs to SA, too.
[UPDATE: Added local availability info]
Source: BMW Blog