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Green light for Mini Hatch Cooper SE EV

Mini uncovers all-electric Cooper SE hatch, but Australian arrival still unconfirmed

Mini logo10 Jul 2019

MINI has revealed its first mass-market all-electric model,  the Cooper SE three-door hatch, but while BMW Group Australia is keen to bring the electric vehicle (EV) to local showrooms, the decision is yet to be made.
 
With an electric motor turning the front wheels, the Mini Hatch Cooper SE produces 135kW of power and 270Nm of torque – enough to accelerate the pint-sized hatch from zero to 100km/h in 7.3 seconds.
 
Compared with its internal-combustion engine (ICE) counterparts, the Cooper SE slots between the 100kW/220Nm 1.5-litre turbo three-cylinder Cooper and 141kW/280Nm 2.0-litre force-fed four-pot Cooper S, the former with a 0-100km/h sprint time of 8.1s and the latter hitting the benchmark speed in 6.8s.
 
With a 32.6kWh battery in play, the BMW-owned British brand is touting a driving range of 235-270km when tested on the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Testing Procedure (WLTP).
 
For comparison, the just-launched second-generation Nissan Leaf sports a 270km range from a 40kWh battery, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric boasts 280km of emissions-free driving with a 28kWh battery, and the Renault Zoe has a circa-400km range from its 41kWh unit, although the latter two were tested on the outdated New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test.
 
However, the Nissan and Hyundai electric vehicles (EVs) are categorised as small cars, one size up from the Mini Hatch Cooper SE and Renault Zoe’s light-car classification.
 
Naturally, regenerative braking features on the Cooper SE, while one-pedal operation – similar to the BMW i3 – is also included, but with the added function of adjustable energy recuperation level.
 
Plugging the all-electric Mini into a household socket with a maximum capacity of 11kW will juice the battery from zero to 80 per cent in three and a half hours, while a 50kW fast-charging station will cut that time to 35 minutes.
 
To preserve the self-professed “go-kart feeling”, Mini has packaged the lithium-ion battery pack in the vehicle floor. The electric motor is also smaller and lighter compared to a traditional internal-combustion engine (ICE).
 
As a result, the Hatch Cooper SE’s centre of gravity is 30mm lower for “agile handling, making it super easy to control even when cornering at high speed”, according to Mini.
 
The configuration also cost no loss of boot capacity, with the electric- and ICE-powered hatchbacks both boasting 211 litres of space in the rear, expanding to 731L with the rear seats folded.
 
However, to ensure adequate protection of the floor-mounted battery, the Mini Hatch Cooper SE rides 18mm higher than its ICE counterparts, while weight is also up 145kg to 1365kg.
 
Externally, the Cooper SE is easily distinguished by its closed front grille, rear-right fender charging port with embossed Mini electric logo, yellow-accented highlights and, as an option in overseas markets, aerodynamically optimised 17-inch wheels.
 
Underneath, the added weight means a retune in suspension, which features a single-joint spring strut up front and a multi-link rear, while the dynamic stability control (DSC) system has also been reworked to eliminate wheel spin from the instant torque of the electric motor.
 
Four driving modes include Green+, added to maximise driving range by disabling or limiting ancillary functions such as air-conditioning and seat heating.
 
Standard equipment in international markets include LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, a 5.5-inch digital instrumentation screen, satellite navigation and an electric park brake.
 
If the Cooper SE was to land in Australian showrooms, it could slot in above the $30,250 before on-road costs Cooper and $40,700 Cooper S and below the $50,400 John Cooper Works.
 
As such, the all-electric Mini could become the most attainable emissions-free model in Australia below the $44,990 Hyundai Ioniq Electric, $47,490 Renault Zoe and $49,990 Nissan Leaf.
 
The Cooper SE will be built at Mini’s plant in Oxford, UK, alongside ICE versions, although the electric drivetrain will come from BMW Group’s facilities in Dingolfing and Landshut, Germany.

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