Mini Cooper SE – Electric Reinvention

The Mini Cooper SE marks a new direction for the iconic British brand. It is an all-electric vehicle which still looks like its stablemates on sale today. Should you be interested?

I have some fond memories of Mini, all of them as an onlooker. I have only sat in one but never drove it. That said, I recall it instantly as Mr. Bean’s car. I also recall it as Jason Bourne’s mayhem-causing set of wheels. Most of all, I remember it as the world record setter for fitting most people in a car, which is 28. Can’t believe it, can you? But that’s in the past. Today, Mini is forging ahead in an all-new direction which is as incredible as its world record-setting feat. After all, the Mini Cooper is going all electric. Yes folks! Presenting the Mini Cooper EV, or as Mini calls it, the Mini Cooper SE. Here’s a lowdown on the modern icon. Also, do check the photo gallery for a surprise.

Mini Cooper EV – Photo Gallery

What’s new about the Mini Cooper EV?

First off, let’s focus on Mini Cooper EV’s drivetrain. After all, that will get the prime focus here. Mini claims the Cooper SE is the first all-electric small car in the premium segment. Powered by a synchronous electric motor, the Mini Cooper EV has a max power and torque output of 184HP and 270Nm, respectively.


A single-speed transmission with integrated differential routes all this power to the front wheels only. The result of all this is a 0-60kmph time of 3.9 seconds, 0-100kmph time of 7.3 seconds, and top speed of 150kmph. Most importantly, it can go from 235-270km on a single full charge.


The Mini Cooper SE has its batteries placed in the floor. The 12-module T-shaped battery pack has a gross output of 32.6kWh. One negative way this has affected this EV is by raising its ground clearance by 18mm against its ICE-powered sibling.


A solid base plate protects the battery pack while power electronics are secured by a reinforced bumper support and motor support frame. If it meets a collision, the electric systems automatically switch off to prevent any hazards.


Those against fake engine noises won’t like the Mini Cooper SE. That’s because it has an artificial soundtrack as a part of its acoustic pedestrian protection system. This system alerts visually-impaired folks to the car’s presence. The car has four driving modes – Sport, MID, Green, and Green+. It has a two-stage configuration for brake energy regeneration.


Mini claims this two-stage brake energy recovery system can help the Mini Cooper EV be driven using only one pedal. This system is decoupled from the car’s driving modes and can be configured independently. However, every time you sit in the car and ‘fire it up’, the high recuperation mode is automatically selected.


The innovations with Mini Cooper SE don’t end with the drivetrain. It’s dual-zone climate control A/c system is an innovative piece of equipment. Its heat pump uses the heat collected from the electric motor, drive control, battery pack, and the outside air to heat the interior.


Mini claims it is 75 per cent more efficient when compared to a conventional heating system. Outside of that, it can be used to pre-condition the interior via the Mini Connected Remote app.


That brings me to the Mini Cooper SE’s looks. If you have seen any modern Mini, the Cooper EV will be a familiar sight to you. The changes are all in styling department.


The grille up front is gone and features a chrome-outlined cover with a twin-slat lime yellow insert. The lime yellow treatment extends to the external rear-view mirror covers as well.


The Mini Cooper SE features new wheels as well that look futuristic and may also have aerodynamic benefits. The charging port is located near the right rear wheel of the vehicle. The car is splattered with Mini Electric logos all around. The rear is one area that sees little to no changes and is all the good for it.


The interior of the Mini Cooper SE is a familiar yet futuristic sight. You are greeted by a 5.5-inch digital instrument cluster. Apart from display for speed, range and like, it also displays navigation information, and lets you access telephone contacts and audio program lists. The cockpit lights up yellow when the charger is connected, green when it is charged up, and red in case of any charging errors.


A central 6.5-inch screen covers the infotainment needs in the Mini Cooper SE. While navigation is standard in the all-electric Mini Cooper, it features some nifty tricks of its own. During route guidance, it shows the fastest and shortest route as well as a Green route that involves least power consumption.


The Mini Cooper SE features Apple CarPlay connectivity, however Android Auto is conspicuous by its absence. A map view shows charging stations in the vehicle’s vicinity. When connected to a charger, you can control the charging process via your smartphone.


You can control the car’s horn, ventilation, flasher, and door lock/unlock functions remotely too. You can option up to an 8.8-inch display with telephony and wireless charging features.


The last interior bit to talk about are the lime yellow accents on the engine start/stop switch and the gear selector. Talk about continuation.

Is the Mini Cooper SE worth consideration?

To answer this question about the Mini Cooper SE, I need to know its price and availability. Since I don’t know those, I will say this. Few cars, let alone electric cars, pay homage to their past while remaining relevant. The Mini Cooper SE does that while steering the iconic British brand into the future.


Those scoffing at the 235-270km range need to understand that this EV isn’t about touring. No Mini has been about touring, even though they have been capable of such a feat. A Mini is about ease of commuting in urban spaces and this one seems capable of that.


I like the fact that Mini Cooper SE isn’t about gimmicks but about usability. I also like the fact that it is among the few automotive icons that could be carried forward into the future. On the pages of Autocratech, I have professed my liking for hatchbacks and the Mini is no different.


I would take this over a sports car or a super car even any day. That said, I still find the lack of Android Auto curious. Does the BMW Group think Android phones aren’t premium enough? Or do they not have people who could work on solutions around Android Auto?


I am eagerly awaiting for announcements regarding the Mini Cooper SE. The fact that Mini exists in India should make it easy for the brand to bring this EV to our market. Sentiments and feelings aside, you should consider this car for three reasons. If you want to go for a name that is familiar to you and has proven its worth, this is it.


If you are looking for a vehicle that has sorted driving dynamics, few groups do it better than BMW Group and few cars would be on par with the Cooper SE. If you are looking for an electric car with good build quality, reliability, and practicality, the Mini Cooper SE should be on your short list.


After all, try naming another electric hatchback that is quirky, iconic, reliable, built to last, and is familiar to look at (and hopefully drive too). For all its goodness, the Leaf ain’t it. The Mini Cooper SE does look like it.

Mini Cooper SE – Specs at a Glance

SpecificationsMini Cooper SE
PriceUS $29,900 onward (approx Rs 22.10 lakh at current exchange rate)
Power UnitSingle synchronous electric motor
Battery Pack Capacity32.6kWh
TransmissionSingle-speed automatic
Front SuspensionN/A
Rear SuspensionN/A
Front BrakesDisc brakes
Rear BrakesDisc brakes

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