The Mini Cooper SE pure electric is scheduled for a 2020 USA arrival

Aug 02, 2019

The Mini Cooper 3-door hatchback Electric, also known as the Mini Cooper SE, is scheduled to begin deliveries to USA dealerships in March 2020.   

By John Coulter, Current EV CMO   

The battery Mini is BMW’s second all-electric vehicle following its i3 EV. Bayerische Motoren Werke has indicated it will produce the model at its Oxford plant in England until at least 2023. This will occur despite the U.K.’s planned exit from the European Union, which could complicate the trade of vehicles and parts. The EV’s batteries will come from a BMW factory in Germany.   

Adding the Mini Electric to its product line will mean BMW now has two pure electric vehicles – the Mini Cooper SE and BMW i3 – to compete with Tesla’s Model 3, Volkswagen AG’s ID.3 hatchback (coming soon) and a wide range of other EVs which have flooded the market or are about to enter it.   

BMW is planning to have a dozen battery models in its stable by 2023, with an e-version of its X3 sports-utility vehicle up next in 2020. The carmaker will produce its electric vehicles at the same plants that make its combustion vehicles. This will help to meet stricter emissions regulations and allow production flexibility.   

Producing 135 kW (181 hp) and offering a range between 235 and 270 km (146-168 mi), the SE model will thrust the Cooper’s excellent small car handling and premium Euro city car vibe into the e-mobility era. BMW has suggested an unconfirmed range of 114 miles based on the USA’s EPA standards, which can be stricter than European test results.   

Cooper SE’s electric motor sits under the hood, and is powered by a 32.6-kWh, T-shaped lithium-ion battery located under the floor. It takes Type 2 and CCS Combo 2 charging plugs up to a maximum of 50 kW. BMW says its Mini Electric can charge at CCS Combo DC fast chargers at up to 50 kw, which should deliver 80 to 90 miles of charge in a half hour.   

The Cooper SE will accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 7.3 seconds, slower than the Model 3 (5.6 seconds), but slightly quicker than the Nissan Leaf or Hyundai Ioniq. The car sits on the same suspension design as the Cooper S, but has a lower center of gravity and 320 more pounds, thanks to the battery back beneath the floor. This keeps it nicely flat in corners.   

The EV has a new instrument cluster and four driving modes – MID (Comfort), Sport, Eco and Eco Plus – which regulate speed and charging needs. Eco Plus turns off the dual-zone automatic climate controller and reduces power so that the EV can eke out every last drop of power.   

Green Car Reports says: A digital instrument cluster unique to the Mini Cooper SE will have a 5.5-inch digital screen behind the steering wheel showing the digital speed, remaining range, battery charge, and power demand, with the capability to display navigation directions or other pertinent information. When charging, it will show the charge percent and time remaining to full. Drivers can also access audio and phone-contact info on the screen. A larger center screen will display more information. Navigation will come as standard equipment.”   

A 6.5-inch touchscreen in the dashboard’s center displays Apple CarPlay, Mini Online, real-time traffic updates, and maps showing nearby charging stations. Upgraded models will add Park Distance Control, a rearview camera and some driver assists. The Premium model will feature an 8.8-inch touchscreen, wireless phone charging, parking assistance and a Harman Kardon audio system.   

The Mini Cooper Electric preserves all of the Mini’s excellent pep and handling in a new Eco-Conscious format, but it’s not a car you’ll choose for long road trips. BMW plans to target consumers who want a sporty, practical, fun-to-drive, easy-to-park, urban transport that downsizes from larger, more expensive models. The German automaker hasn’t released USA MSRPs yet.