Toward the end of June, we reported that BMW is accelerating its electrification strategy. Originally, it had promised 25 new electric models across its brands by 2025; now that timeline has been moved up by two years. And the first of these will be a Mini Cooper SE battery electric vehicle. We’ve actually known the BEV Mini has been in the works for a while, but on Tuesday the automaker confirmed that production will begin at Mini’s Cowley plant in the UK in November, and it has released some of the car’s specs.
Throughout Mini’s 60-year history, the brand has always been about small front-wheel-drive cars, and that continues here. In this case, the front wheels are going to be driven by a 181hp (135kW), 199lb-ft (270Nm) electric motor, powered by a 32.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack. To avoid compromising the Mini’s diminutive form factor, the battery pack is T-shaped, and apparently there’s no reduction in cargo volume as a result.
Although weight has crept up by 319lbs (145kg) compared to a Mini Cooper S (with an automatic transmission), overall weight is still only 3,009lbs (1,364kg) which isn’t too bad for a BEV. And despite an increase in height (0.7 inches/18mm), the weight of the batteries in the floor means the car’s center of gravity is actually lower by 1.2 inches (30mm).
It’s not all gravy, though. The range estimates provided are 148-167 miles (235-270km), but that was calculated using Europe’s WLTP and NEDC testing protocols. (EPA testing has not taken place yet.) Although WLTP was supposed to be closer to reality than NEDC, it remains wildly optimistic compared to the EPA test cycle, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mini Cooper SE goes on sale in the US with an EPA range closer to 130 miles on a full charge. Probably not one for long road trips then, especially considering that DC fast charging tops out at 50kW.
But odds are high that the BEV Mini will drive the way it’s supposed to, which means kart-like handling, particularly with such a low CoG. Mini is quoting the 0-62mph (0-100km/h) stat at 7.3 seconds, and the car has an electronically limited top speed of 93.2mph (150km/h).
Listing image by Mini