The New Mini Electric Is Available To Order Now
With the first deliveries expected in the Spring of this year, the Mini Electric would appear to be the right car at the right time. With the present administration bringing forward the fossil-fuel ban to 2035, the car industry is really beginning to gear up for this next phase in the history of the motor car.
The original Mini, designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, was born out of the Suez crisis oil shortage and the demand for affordable motoring. The first cars rolled off the line in the summer of 1959 and so began the global success story which has spanned six decades. With the use of oil once again to the fore, albeit for different reasons with the world facing new environmental and socio-economic challenges, the Mini Electric is destined to be a sure-fire hit.
The New Mini EV
This new addition to the ranks of iconic Mini variants is based on the same body shell as the 3-Door Hatchback, but with a few subtle differences. The Mini Electric logo appears on car’s flanks, as well as on the tailgate and front radiator grille. The traditional hexagonal front grille is still there but is closed. This car requires less cooling and this feature also improves the aerodynamics, as will the enclosed undercarriage.
A new, yet familiar, digital dashboard is featured with a 5.5" colour screen behind the steering wheel. Speed is shown at the centre in figures with a peripheral scale band, as well as information on the charge level of the battery, the selected driving mode and the status of the driver assistance systems.
In addition, details of the available range, current drive power, outside temperature, time and mileage are displayed, along with traffic sign detection and directions from the navigation system.
The battery pack has twelve modules of lithium-ion cells arranged in a T-shaped unit in the vehicle floor between the front seats and below the rear seats, providing a battery capacity of 32.6 kWh. The motor is the latest, powerful version of the synchronous electric motor developed by the parent BMW Group and which provides a maximum output of 184hp and a maximum torque figure of 270Nm. As a result, the car accelerates to 62mph in a brisk 7.3 seconds with top speed sensibly limited to 93mph.
The power electronics are shielded by a reinforced bumper carrier and the motor support frame, while the high-voltage battery is protected by a solid base plate. In accordance with EU law, which it is to be presumed will be retained in this case, the car is fitted with acoustic pedestrian protection for low speed driving, with a distinctive sound created especially for the car generated via a speaker system.
Mini Driving Modes
As standard there are four driving modes selected via a switch. 'SPORT' mode has more direct steering and a more rapid power delivery. The 'MID' setting has less aggressive steering while 'GREEN' features, as would be expected, more gentle accelerator actuation. In 'GREEN+' mode, some comfort functions such as air conditioning are limited or deactivated to save further power and increase range. Handy in a charge emergency.
Additionally, a toggle switch adjacent to the start/stop toggle provides the choice of intense or low-level power regeneration – regardless of the driving mode selected - to allow the driver to choose the best setting for their own style of driving. This recharges the battery when the driver lifts off the accelerator, preserving energy, and acts as a braking force.
If any car is likely to finally tempt drivers away from fossil-fuel, it is this one. The Mini story continues.