The All Electric MINI Cooper SE Reviewed by a Rally Driver

It’s not much of a review but it does give us a bit more hint at what to expect from the all electric MINI Cooper SE? And given that the driver is Kuka Przygonski, Dakar Rally driver for MINI, the Cooper SE is cleary put through its paces.

Mini Cooper SE

MINI Cooper SE – Background

For a number of reasons BMW needs to have the current generation of F Series MINIs stick around for awhile longer. Because of that BMW needed to electrify the current generation MINI hatch rather than build one from the ground up. This allowed speed to market and low costs of development. But don’t worry if you’re an electric MINI fan. There’s an entirely new platform being developed with Great Wall Motors that will all electric from the ground up. That’s coming in 3-4 years depending on who you ask.

MINI Cooper SE – Drivetrain

No surprise here it’s based on the i3s which produces 181 horsepower motor and 94 Ah with a 33 kilowatt battery. Interestingly the 441 lbs battery is a 96-cell lithium-ion from CATL and not Samsung

The entire electric drivetrain is designed to for fit more or less where the standard ICE unit is on standard MINIs. Weight distribution and center of gravity is improved with this new layout.

MINI Cooper SE – Range and Performance

It would appear that the range will be 120 miles given what we know about the drivetrain of the i3s. In our recent testing we also found the i3s to be fairly quick. Officially it tops out at 100 mph and does 0-62 in 7.7 seconds.

MINI Cooper SE – Pricing

MINI’s official line is that this will cost roughly what an automatic Cooper S runs. Yes that’s purposefully vague. We’ll know more in the months ahead.

MINI Cooper SE – Charging Time

According to MINI, the Cooper SE take 40 minutes for an 80 percent charge when hooked up to a 50 kW D/C charger. But lets talk real world. In our testing of the i3s with its near identical drivetrain, charging from 0-100% on a normal outlet takes 8-12 hours. On a quick (Level 2) charger that’s 4-5 hours.

But what about the all new Level 3? That’s where the i3 starts to make some sense. Level 3 DC fast chargers can recharge the i3 battery up to 80% in as little as 20 minutes (80-100% slows to protect the battery from overcharging). It’s interesting that that number differs slightly from the 40 minutes MINI is quoting. Perhaps there are more differences between these two cars yet to be uncovered?