You don’t have to drive the Mini Electric to know that this is a car promising two opposing things. At one end, this is an eco-conscious city car, capable of laughing in the face of urban emissions limits and CO2-cutting tax brackets because, well, it’s battery-powered. There are no tailpipes at the back to produce direct emissions. But, significantly, this car bears a Cooper S badge on its boot lid. It promises to also be a hot hatch from a family of Mini performance cars that have consistently delivered terrific things. No biggie, right?
Hold that thought. Mini doesn’t make any bones about this cars lack of overall battery range versus rivals. With 145 miles the limit on the spec sheet, but most conceding that 110 miles is probably closer to the real-world average, it offers less than half the range of rivals, including the Renault Zoe. Much of that is to do with the Mini’s use of a 37kWh battery; it’s a small solution, mandated by the fact that the Mini base is shared with that of the petrol version. There simply wasn’t the room in the structure for a larger battery.
But there are positives. With the battery and associated electric hardware crammed mostly under the bonnet of the Mini Cooper S E, it has a weight distribution that’s very close to that of the petrol version. Also, at 1.4 tonnes, it’s not particularly heavy for a hatchback in 2021; the Zoe – despite its compact looks – is over 100kg heavier thanks largely to its bigger battery. When it comes to maintaining familiar hot hatch handling and on-road characteristics similar to those of the petrol-powered Cooper S, these are good things.
Also good is the Mini’s near identical overall design, both inside and out, which will sit very well with fans of the normal car’s appearance. There are, as you’ll have noticed, some flashes of fluorescent green and unique wheels for the electric car, but otherwise it’s typical Mini. We like. Sam included. Which is handy, really, because he’s behind the wheel, back at Rockingham, for our latest video review. Hopefully you enjoy watching – if you do, don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to the channel. We’re new in the YouTube arena, but there’s much in the pipeline…