MINI recently organized a little get-together for the so-called Electric, which is supposed to have an official Cooper SE designation. It's there that some of the preliminary specs were announced, though it's nothing we didn't expect.
Their Dakar Rally driver, Kuba Przygonski, got behind the wheel to show just how fun this little rascal can be and why instant electric motor acceleration goes hand-in-hand with go-kart handling.
But it's not like they have a monopoly on fast-accelerating small cars. In fact, we think that the Cooper SE will have trouble competing against the Peugeot e-208.
Borrowing tech from the BMW i3 S, the first purely electric MINI model will have 184 HP and 270 Nm of torque (199 lb-ft). This should give it similar acceleration to the regular Cooper S, with its 2-liter turbo. It's more power than the e-208, which matches a regular Cooper at 136 HP.
While the car will be made in Oxford, its batteries will be supplied by the Chinese firm CATL. Similar to the i3s model, they will have 33 kWh (29 kWh usable). But the layout is entirely different since the i3 is based on a bespoke CFRP tub with the engine over the back. Here, MINI will stuff the cells where the fuel tank and exhaust would have been, as well as in the central tunnel.
The added weight is noticeable, as the cells add a combined 200 kg. Overall, the MINI Electric will weigh 1,360 kilograms, so about 130kg more than a Cooper S with the automatic. A small benefit is that the center of gravity and front-to-back weight distribution are better.
While that's a compromise we're willing to live with, the range isn't According to the company this car will travel 235 kilometers between charges (WLTP), which is noticeably less than the Peugeot. VW's ID hatch will do better too, not to mention what Kia is offering already.
Production is scheduled to start in November 2019, with first deliveries to follow early next year.