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For car manufacturers and those who rely on their products, 2021 feels like the year electric cars got taken seriously. The big guns are lining up to hit the market with new ranges in a number of market sectors, with the aim, it is now presumed, of replacing many of their existing brands with electric – or at least hybrid-electric – versions. This will have to combine high levels of performance with all the benefits of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs); evidence of their success is starting to show through already. BMW’s Mini E, for example, has made a very good first impression; here, we look at the reasons why a lot of people will want to buy Mini Electric.

The Mini E and its competition

Mini Electric car

Although a newcomer to the electric car market, the technology behind the Mini Electric car has been a long time in the making. When BMW decided to sell the Rover company in 2000, they kept the Mini brand, redesigning it to great success early in the new century. Over the last ten years, the great brains at BMW have been working on a fully electric version of the Mini. Other companies have been footled about making modifications to their existing petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.

The aim of all the makers involved here is to design what is called a Supermini, bigger and faster than a “micro” sized city car, but sportier and more compact than a traditional family hatchback. With ever-improving lithium-ion battery design, meaning the range is less and less of a worry these days, the Supermini is a very valuable sector of the overall car market. This is already true of traditionally powered cars, is likely to be just as true for EVs, and another reason why drivers will buy Mini Electric.

Superminis’ size and use mean that all entries in this category are pure electric vehicles, rather than hybrids. In the case of the Mini E, it is lined up squarely against two models from (as it happens, both French) rival companies; the Peugeot e-208 and the Renault Zoe. What one car loses on, for example, range, it makes up for on handling or cost; these are extremely comparable cars, so the Mini E certainly has its work cut out.

Sporting heritage of the Mini electric car

Mini electric car

The Mini E benefits from a couple of advantages over its rivals; these are to do with its manufacturer and the car’s sporting lineage. BMW has developed an electric motor for the E, which it shares with the company’s i3; this delivers a very impressive 184 horsepower. The Mini E is also actually an electric take of the Cooper S design; the Mini Cooper being a legendary small sports car in its own right. Of course, the modern Mini is much larger than its 1960s predecessor, which means it can comfortably hold the big battery needed to deliver such sporting performance.

Electric cars are noted for their instant torque, due to linear actuator motors; this is especially true of the Mini E, which delivers torque of 270 Nm. From a standing start, the car feels like a sports car, achieving 0 to 62 mph in 7.3 seconds (although petrol engine cars still win hands down at higher speeds than this). A good reason to buy Mini Electric is that it is lighter than both the Peugeot and the Renault. Reviews of the car’s performance attest to its superb agility when taking corners, thanks to its Mini Cooper inherited handling. Also, the instruments are right in front of the driver, in a floating cluster, which is very intuitive to take in.

A new feature of the Mini E is a toggle switch, which allows you to set its level of power generation to either intense or low level. This option is on top of the different Driving modes the car offers (Sport, Mid, Green, and Green+). Setting the toggle to the correct level means that the battery recharges itself as soon as you take your foot off the pedal; it also acts as a braking force at the same time.

Range and driver friendliness

Mini electric car

The advertised range of the Mini Electric car is 145 miles on a single charge. This is based on WLTP figures, which translate downwards in “real world” conditions, such as cold weather and slippery roads. Bearing in mind the car’s excellent handling and power delivery, however, very little of that power is wasted while driving. For the average driver, with a daily commute of about 26 miles, this means that your Mini will only need charging every five days. It is bearing in mind that a full charge only costs £5.31, which translates to an outlay of 4p per mile, an excellent advantage in the overall Mini Electric car price.

The Mini is equipped with Satnav as standard, of course; this automatically updates itself on traffic conditions. As the car also knows its own battery level, the display will tell you how far you can go before the next charge. By inputting your destination, the Mini E will tell you if it has enough charge to get there; if not, the Satnav display shows a route to the nearest charging station. For anyone new to electric cars (and perhaps apprehensive about running out of charge), this driver friendliness will no doubt be a huge relief.

When it comes to recharging, the Mini E is also very user friendly. A full charge takes only 3 hours and 12 minutes, which is one of the lowest times of any pure electric vehicle. With a 50 kW plug, you can charge to an 80% level in just 36 minutes. The battery itself is guaranteed for eight years, or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Cost and other considerations

buy Mini Electric

The Mini Electric car price is very competitive for a model of its quality. The entry-level model sells for £24,900 after the government’s £3,500 subsidy is taken into account. This is fractionally cheaper than the Peugeot e-208, and about £4,000 cheaper than the Renault Zoe. Considering the Mini E’s sporting performance, useful range, and fantastic cost per mile, this makes the car a very attractive proposition. For those keen to support British jobs, it’s worth noting that the Mini E is built-in Cowley near Oxford, England. This carries on a long tradition of British design and craftsmanship embodies in the Mini Cooper, of which the Mini E is the latest example. With no import duties to add to the Mini Electric car price, and with electric Superminis sure to be a big part of the country’s future, getting hold of one now makes a great deal of sense.

Enter our prize draw and win a Mini E

The Mini E is one of our prize cars; you can also opt for the E-Up Volkswagen or the Tesla Model 3. All you need to do is answer a perfectly reasonable qualifying question, and then 10% of your entry fee will be divided between the Rainforest Alliance, World wide fund for nature, and the Woodland trust. Head to now, and you could soon be driving a British built Mini E!

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