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(Pocket-lint) - BMW/Mini's new all-in-one charging plan has launched in the UK with the aim of reducing range anxiety and basically make charging a whole lot easier. If you've driven an electric car, you know what it feels like to have your charge dwindle in front of your eyes. 

Charging - especially during longer journeys - remains the key disadvantage of buying an electric car aside from the initial higher cost. 

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The straightforward idea of BMW Charging or Mini Charging, as the schemes are called, is that you pay one provider, but you have access to over 11,000 charging points across the UK (and 173,000 charge points across Europe) via a single RFID card rather than the irritating scenario of being signed up to multiple providers and having cards and apps for each.

The current BMW Charging and Mini Charging network includes BP Pulse (including ChargeYourCar), ESB, Osprey, Source London and Chargepoint Network UK(including Instavolt) and others. Some high-power charging stations via Ionity are also part of the BMW Charging network.

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You can see where the nearest points are thanks to the in-car navigation, plus your charging history and fees shown in your BMW/Mini app or on the website. Costs are billed monthly.

You can either pay-as-you-go (just pay for what you use) or, for regular users, sign up for a subscription. The BP Pulse package (£7.85 per month) offers customers preferential pricing per/kWh when charging at over 5,500 bp pulse charging points. Users using up to 43kW AC or 50kW DC charging save £0.13 per kWh compared to the pay-as-you-go price, and those using 150kW DC charging save £0.15 per kWh.

The scheme also enables BMW/Mini to offer free packages to new electric and plug-in hybrid customers - owners of the new Mini Electric are given free access to the BP Pulse network for a year. 

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For drivers who use the Ionity charging network, the ‘Ionity Plus’ package (£11.30 per month) saves you £0.43 per kWh when using up to 350kW DC charging. Ionity is a joint venture founded by BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen. There are around 340 of these charging stations across Europe but only 13 in the UK. BMW iX3 or BMW iX customers can get this package for 12 months free.

The new plan - from the Mini side at least - was revealed at a recent launch event we attended for the new refreshed Mini and Mini Electric at the car's iconic factory in Cowley, Oxford. The iconic new version of the Mini is now unbelievably 20 years old (yes, really) and the latest design refresh also brings numerous tech updates to the standard cars.

You can see how the Mini's design has evolved in the image below, with the newer cars having a different stance and a whole lot less chrome than the initial models did.

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Over 5 million Minis have rolled off the production line in the UK. Around 1,000 are produced each day, or one every 67 seconds!

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An 8.8-inch touchscreen display is now standard while the digital display behind the steering wheel from the Mini Electric is now available on all models as an option. 

There's now a larger grille with a black hexagonal surround and black headlight surround while the lower position lights have been replaced by air inlets for better aerodynamics. There are new LED side indicators and a rear foglight, too. 

The 135kW (184hp) Mini Electric can trace its origins back to the 'Mini E' trials back in 2009 and this new upgraded version of last year's Mini Electric launch model comes with a few new options as well as the refreshed design.

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It comes in Level 1, 2 or 3 trim levels as well as a Collection edition featuring 17-inch Electric Collection alloy wheels and other options like Island Blue metallic paint. We'll be posting a review of the new model soon. 

Again a 145-mile range is cited, but as we found when driving the original, you're unlikely to get that amount of mileage. However, charge time is decent with a fast 50kW charger so you can juice up in an hour. It's around three hours on a 7kW home unit or 12 hours on a standard home socket. 

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In another tech update, Mini says it is also debuting an optional add-on Bluetooth-enabled box that will enable you to share your car with several users.

Each user can book a slot with the app and then they're able to open your car with their phone (using Bluetooth) at the appropriate time (you don't have multiple keys). You can share with up to 10 others, so it sounds great for larger families or small businesses. Obviously, you'll have to make sure they return it on time yourself...

BMW has previously said that all Minis will be electric by 2030, the first BMW model range to move completely across to electric power and also debuted a concept of an electric range-topping John Cooper Works model late last year.

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Writing by Dan Grabham. Originally published on 19 May 2021.