Mini India will launch its first all-electric model, the Mini Cooper SE, on February 24th via a Facebook Live event. It’ll be the second all-electric launch by the BMW Group in the last few months; the first was the BMW iX, which was, like many other premium electric cars, a flagship product. The three-door Mini Cooper SE, however, will be different. Besides being smaller and lighter, it’s bound to be within the reach of a wider range of buyers.
The final details including the prices, specs, and charging support are likely to be announced later. So, while we wait for that, let’s look at what the global model offers (the Indian car is expected to replicate that): 0-100kph in 7.3 seconds, a peak output of 184hp and 270Nm, and a range of up to 270km on a full charge. There’s not much to differentiate between the current-generation Mini Cooper (F56) and the all-electric Mini Cooper SE in terms of shape and overall looks, but the latter does extend its uniqueness to the exterior design through a different grille and new bumpers, new 17-inch wheels and yellow accents. The interiors haven’t changed massively, although you do get an electric parking brake. There’s two-zone climate control, a 6.5-inch infotainment screen is standard, and the version abroad gets you the option of an 8.8-inch screen — for an additional cost, of course.
There are four driving modes and two levels of brake energy recuperation — the latter is switchable regardless of whichever driving mode you’re in. With positioning the batteries under the car’s floor, Mini has achieved a low centre of gravity — claimed to be lower by 30mm, in comparison to the conventionally powered Mini Cooper S. The suspension and other systems have been tuned accordingly, too. The weight difference between the Cooper S and the electric version is about 145kg, but lugging all that extra weight translates to zero tailpipe emissions and instantly available torque.
What hasn’t changed is the styling. Even in the electric avatar, it represents a modern iteration of the original Mini. Instead of the fuel filler, there’s a socket to charge the Mini Cooper SE; in place of the engine sits the electric powertrain; and the instrument console, also an all-digital unit displays info like the car’s speed, battery charge, driving mode, current drive power, etc. When plugged in, it displays charging status and time remaining to reach 100 percent. Talking of which, Mini mentions that the car can be charged at both AC and DC chargers. A DC fast-charger (50 kW) can charge the battery to 80 percent in just 35 minutes. An AC 11 kW charger, on the other hand, can achieve 80 percent in two and a half hours, and 100 percent in three and a half hours.
More on this in a week!