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BMW unveils all-electric Mini Cooper SE with 168-mile range, based on older i3 platform

BMW has introduced the long-awaited all-electric Mini with its new Mini Cooper SE. We already know what it looks like but do its specs impress?

The electric Mini Cooper SE is BMW’s first all-electric car since the BMW i3 was released in 2013. Its electric motor delivers 135 kW/184 hp and a maximum torque of 270 Nm. BMW claims the front-wheel drive electric SE can get from zero to 60 km/h (37 mph) in 3.9 seconds, and zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.3 seconds. Prices in Germany start at 32,500 Euros (about $36,400).

The electric Mini’s 32.6 kWh battery has a reported range of 235 to 270 km (146-168 miles) based on the new WLTP cycle. That means EPA/real world will be closer to 140 miles. The battery is located in the vehicle floor, so the electric Mini Cooper SE has the same luggage volume as the ICE 3-door Mini, with the body positioned 18 mm higher for ground clearance.

Its charging connection uses Type 2 and CCS Combo 2 plugs for AC and DC charging. When fast charging, the Mini can get an 80% charge in 35 minutes at a maximum capacity of 50 kW.

BMW says the new electric Mini will be a three-door based on the current ICE version of the Mini Cooper SE:

The first-ever purely electric model of the British brand is a genuine MINI to the core. Its vehicle concept is based on the MINI 3 Door. The dimensions, design, space, and interior ambience of the new MINI Cooper SE are clearly based on the conventionally powered vehicle, the development of which already took account of the expansion of the model range to include a electrically powered version.

The electric Mini offers four driving modes. BMW says of the electric car’s driving experience:

Electric drive takes the typical MINI concept of go-kart feeling into an entirely new and fascinating dimension. The enthralling agile handling of the new MINI Cooper SE is supported by suspension technology that has been refined and harmonized on a model-specific basis. In conjunction with purely electric drive too, the tried-and-tested design principle of the suspension — with single-joint spring strut at the front, a multilink rear axle that is unique within the competitive field, and electromechanical steering — guarantees maximum ride stability, steering precision, and spontaneity when changing direction. With a center of gravity that is at least 30 mm lower than in the MINI Cooper S, optimum weight distribution helps the new MINI Cooper SE achieve a level of cornering dynamics that is unique within the small-car segment.

The electric Mini will be produced in Oxford, UK, starting in November, and BMW has already been taking preorders in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Norway. Customers in the US, UK, Italy, and Spain can also register their interest. BMW says more than 40,000 customers have already registered their interest.

Bernd Koerber, senior vice president of MINI, said in a statement that BMW has decided against one launch date for all markets. Koerber continued, “The first vehicles will then be delivered as early as possible.”

Electrek’s take:

This is painful to say because I love the Mini form factor and I’m glad BMW has finally introduced this car.

But is this car from 2016? Let’s compare it to the similarly sized Chevy Bolt which was released in 2016.  The 2016 Bolt has 50% more range, is way quicker/more HP, 4 doors and even charges faster at 54kW on CCS. This vehicle doesn’t match up very well with a 4 year old car. How is it going to compete with vehicles released since then?

The truth is that this is a 1st generation EV, hopefully the last BMW tries to roll out on its i3 platform. In fact, the i3 at least had RWD and better acceleration than this.

BMW will probably sell a disappointing number of these because, hey, even the Nissan LEAF has significantly more range and better acceleration, and it is hard to sell a sporty EV that gets smoked by an old Nissan. As far as new EVs go, the electric Mini may be best compared to the Honda e.

BMW’s board members will say things like “no one wants electric” when in fact people do want electric — just not an outdated, half-assed attempt. They’ve got a long way to go if they want Mini to be an all-electric brand, which it can excel at, if given the proper chance.

There’s also this:

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