(Pocket-lint) - The Mini Electric is now official, as the company pulls the covers off its fully-electric car in Oxford where the new model will be built. The order books are now open and deliveries are expected from March 2020.
Mini's first foray into electrification was actually a decade ago, with an electric Mini unveiled at LA Auto Show in 2008, but now, in the 60th anniversary year of Mini, we get the fully-electric production version, now that battery technology has advanced enough to be affordable and practical.
Here's everything you need to know about about the new Mini Electric.
Mini Electric design
The first thing you'll notice about the Mini Electric is that it looks exactly like the Mini Hatch. It sits in the same 3-door body, so rather than attempting to create something that's radically electric and looking to make a statement, Mini is playing to its fans. It's reliably conventional, carrying through the charms that Mini Cooper S already offers.
So far there's been no word on other body stylings for the Mini - we don't know if it will be coming in a 5-door version, or as a Countryman or anything else.
The Mini Electric comes with Cooper S badging on the rear and that carries through into the styling. There's a bump in the bonnet and an air scoop, although in this model it is closed in, as there's no need for that airflow.
There are other indicators of its electric heart around the body, with the logo sitting on the flanks, front and rear. It's not brash and shouty, it's a more subtle approach. There are 17-inch Corona Spoke custom wheels available though - an optional extra - which will make you stand out a little more. Like other Minis, you will be able to customise the looks quite a lot.
Yellow detailing is available, with front detailing and mirror caps, as well as the logos around the body. Importantly, the filler cap door now has an electric logo on it - with the CCS socket located in the same place as you'd normally put the fuel.
The battery sits in the floor between the front and rear seats, preserving the boot space of the ICE model - so there's 211 litres of space.
The interior is very close to other Minis, but there's a new 5.5-inch driver display that will not only give you driving information, but will also show charging information when the car is plugged in. Otherwise the switchgear looks very much the same, as does the rest of the trim. Basically, if you want a Mini, there's no reason not to choose the electric version.
There will be three different trim levels available, moving from cloth to leather-look on the interior, as well as adding in a lot of other technology as you step-up, accompanied by jumps up in price.
The Mini Electric will be built at Plant Oxford alongside other Minis, which the company says gives it the ability to scale production to meet demand.
Mini Electric performance, range and power
The Mini Electric has a 32.6kWh battery, divided into 12 lithium-ion cells. The car has a CCS socket supporting rapid charging at up to 50kW, which will see you to 80 per cent charge in 35 minutes.
The given range of the Mini Electric is 124-144 miles, which will of course depend on the driving conditions and the driving mode you select - and we won't have a typical average until the Mini is available to test drive - likely to be early 2020.
There's a single motor driving the front wheels, and this is BMW's latest motor, producing 135kW, 184hp. The 0-62 time is 7.3 seconds and the maximum speed is 93 miles per hour. It's slightly slower than the Cooper S, but David George, Mini UK director, said that over 0-30mph the Mini Electric is faster, which will give it that nippy electric car feel - which we'd expect to sit well with Mini's characteristic go-kart handling.
The suspension has been upgraded to support the slight increase in weight.
Mini Electric driving modes and other technology
There will be four different driving modes - Sport, Mid, Green and Green+. In addition, you'll also be able to select the level of regeneration from braking, which will change the way that the car feels when driving. You'll be able to have regeneration as soon as you lift off the pedal, just as you can in many other electric cars, like the BMW i3 or Nissan Leaf.
As the driving modes suggest, Sport will offer the most dynamic setup with the most direct steering feel, slowly moving down to offer a more economical setup in the other modes. Once you're down to Green and Green+ you can expect a slower response from the throttle, designed to ensure you don't burn off a lot of charge through rapid acceleration.
The new 5.5-inch display for the driver is in addition to the central 6.5-inch touchscreen display in the centre. The navigation map will show the overall range for the car, and when plotting a route you'll be shown various options, including a green route which will use the least energy.
The Mini Electric will also support Apple CarPlay, and offer the same creature comforts that other Mini models offer, depending on the trim level that you select, like parking sensors and other driver assistance systems.
Mini Electric price and availability
The Mini Electric will start at £24,400, including the government PICG, but there will be three different trim levels available:
- standard - £24,400
- mid - £26,400
- top - £30,400
Leasing prices for the standard trim will start from £299 a month for 48-months with a £4000 deposit. Pre-orders are open now asking for a £500 deposit and deliveries are expected from March 2020.