Munich - Mini has pulled the covers off its first mass production electric car, and it’s coming to South Africa, albeit in limited volumes, with the first units expected to touch down in the first quarter of 2021.
The Mini Cooper SE is powered by a front-mounted electric motor that produces 135kW and 270Nm, and is fed by 12 lithium ion batteries mounted in the vehicle’s floor, or more specifically beneath the front and rear seats so as not to intrude on passenger and boot space.
Batteries are heavy things, but the Mini SE’s weight gain is not too catastrophic - at 1365kg unladen, the car weighs 145kg more than a Mini Cooper S.
Performance is also on the lively side (remember, you are getting loads of instantaneous torque) and Mini claims the little hatch will sprint from 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds, but it’s not for speed junkies as Mini has limited the top speed to 150km/h.
Yet the most important number in an EV conversation is range, and to that end Mini claims that the SE will manage between 235 and 270 kilometres between charges, depending on what official driving cycle you're talking about.
Power goes to the front wheels through a single-stage transmission.
There are a few visual mods to help you tell the SE apart from conventionally-powered Minis. Most notably, the grille is almost completely closed off by a grey panel, decorated by a signature yellow bar, while the side mirrors can also painted yellow (the standard colour is grey) and the car is available with unique 17-inch, four-spoke alloy wheels sporting an asymmetrical design, with one really long spoke.
While the cabin will look familiar to current Mini owners, the SE does get a model-specific digital instrument cluster with various selectable modes that display different colours.
Standard features include LED headlights, dual-zone climate control and Connected Navigation that offers a range of online services designed for life with an electric car.
At this stage the Mini Cooper SE is only being sold in three-door hatchback format and it will be built in Oxford, England, alongside its internal combustion engined counterparts.
South African pricing will be released closer to launch.