Home: Motoring > Electric powered Mini Cooper SE arrives

Electric powered Mini Cooper SE arrives

From:Greg Kable 2019-07-09 19:31:32

New compact electric model claimed to boast typical Mini handling traits and 270km range

Mini has entered the electric vehicle ranks with the new battery-powered Cooper SE – a car it says is capable of providing a zero-emission range of up to 270km without any compromise in interior space or luggage capacity compared to existing gasoline versions of the compact hatchback.

Set to make its public debut at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show, the new model is planned for Chinese sale in 2020.

Initially previewed by the Mini Electric concept car, the definitive production version of the new Cooper SE retains the familiar retro-inspired styling of other Mini models but receives a series of styling updates that serve to set it apart visually from its combustion engine siblings.

Included is a blanked off grille with electric identification and a newly shaped front bumper with a thin horizontal air intake. The new model rides on standard aerodynamic optimized 16-inch wheels, though 17-inch wheels are also available as an option.

Inside, there are model specific instrument and infotainment graphics among other minor changes. 

Power for the Cooper SE is provided by a front-mounted electric motor produced at Mini parent company, BMW. Mounted on a newly engineered support frame, it propels the front wheels with 135kW and 270Nm of torque via a single-speed transmission with an integrated differential.

With a kerb weight some 145kg above that of the gasoline-powered Cooper S with optional Steptronic automatic gearbox at 1365kg, the Cooper SE is claimed to accelerate from 0-to-60km/h in 3.9sec, from 0-to-100km/h in 7.3sec and achieve a top speed limited to 150km/h.

All up, the new Mini offers four driving modes, Sport, Mid, Green and Green+, together with an adjustable recuperation function that allows the driver to alter the amount of kinetic energy recovered in two stages leading to different levels of deceleration whilst coasting.

Energy for the new Mini model’s electric motor is provided by a lithium-ion battery mounted within a modified version of the existing floorpan. It is made up of 12 separate modules and boasts an energy content of 32.6kWh.

This is sufficient, according to Mini, to provide the Cooper SE with a range of between 235km and 270km miles under the WLTP test procedure regulations with energy consumption rated at 13.2kWh/100km.

Recharging is via regular AC household mains or an optional 11kW wallbox unit. The new Mini model also supports DC charging at up to 50kW.

With the battery positioned between the front seats and below the rear seat in a space usually taken up the fuel tank in gasoline versions of the Mini hatchback, luggage space is preserved. Official figures point to a trunk capacity of 211 litres, expanding to 731 litres when the Cooper SE’s split-fold rear seat backrests are folded down.

Mini says the Cooper SE delivers traditionally agile handling attributes. Helping in this respect is a centre of gravity that is claimed to be 30mm lower than that of gasoline-powered Mini models. The new model is also claimed to possess a perfect 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution.

The MacPherson strut (front) and multi-link (rear) suspension has been revised with new spring and damper units and an added 18mm of ground clearance to help it cope with the added weight brought on by the battery and power electronics – the latter of which is housed underneath the hood together with the electric motor.

The Cooper SE will be produced at Mini’s traditional Oxford factory in England. It is the second electric Mini model. The first, the limited volume Mini E, was produced in a hand-built process between 2009 and 2010. It formed the basis of a short term lease scheme developed by Mini and its parent company BMW to gain know-how on the mobility requirements of potential electric vehicle customers.

Editor:Greg Kable