Mini-E is Highway Legal Pure Electric Vehicle
by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor
Hipsters of the world rejoice! Mini has announced the greatest thing since arthouse theater—an electric version of the Mini Cooper.
Amazingly, the Mini-E is heavier than its internal combustion engine (ICE) counterpart (curb weight of 3,230 lbs. vs. 2,546 lbs. for the ICE). This will satisfy those who feel greater mass equals greater safety. Despite its added bulk, the Mini-E has even greater front/rear weight balance than the ICE.
Better still is the Mini-E’s stats: top speed of 95 mph, with a range of 150 miles. Long trips are out, but 150 miles more than covers the average person’s daily commute. It certainly outperforms the neighborhood electric vehicles that won’t take you beyond the local Kwik-E-Mart. The Mini-E accelerates from 0-62 mph in 8.5 seconds, an impressive number.
Now the bad news—good luck finding one. Right now, the Mini-E is in beta testing, and the guinea pigs, so to speak, have already been chosen. And these guinea pigs have to pay their own way—beta testers have to cough up $850 a month for a one-year lease. And if you don’t have a garage, you’re out of luck. Mini-E guidelines only allow a garage or similar structure to be used as a home station. The lease price includes installation of a fast charging station that recharges the vehicle in under three hours.
The high price tag (and inadequate national infrastructure for supporting it) may discourage most, but the Mini-E will find its core audience among Mini’s installed base of users. In other words, Mini Cooper aficionados will go ga-ga over the Mini-E, but it’s unlikely to penetrate the mainstream market. Though as one commentator stated, “in California, where image is everything, the value of an electric Mini Cooper cannot be measured.”