Mini has announced a base price for its new 2020 Cooper SE battery electric coupe of $30,750 including an $850 destination fee. With the federal tax credit of $7,500 and state and local subsidies, that means buyers could get the electric vehicle for less than $20,000 when it goes on sale in the U.S. in March.
For that price buyers get a sporty coupe with Mini hardtop two-door looks and interior, but also an EV with limited range. The SE does not have an official EPA range rating yet, but Automotive News reports it is likely to be good for about 114 miles on a charge. Its 32.6-kilowatt-hour battery is rated about 235-270 kilometers (146 to 168 miles) on the European testing cycle.
Mini calls the SE its first full EV though it produced a limited-edition Mini E in 2008, leasing 500 in three U.S. markets. Mini currently sells a plug-in hybrid version of the Countryman SUV and parent company BMW currently sells the i3 electric car.
The new model will test the U.S. market for a cute EV with city-car range in exchange for a lower price. EV range ratings of 200-300 miles are increasingly common these days, but so are base prices closer to $40,000.
The closest EV competition in price and range is a base Nissan Leaf at $30,885 with destination; the base Leaf with a 40-kwh battery is EPA-rated for 150 miles of range.
“U.S. pricing of the new Mini Cooper SE was set to establish this new battery electric as a true class leader in making premium electric mobility more accessible to a broader range of customers,” Michael Peyton, vice president of Mini of the Americas, said in a statement.
Mini says the EV version has a low center of gravity and will retain the front-wheel-drive gasoline version’s driving dynamics though it sits 0.7 inches higher to accommodate the under-floor battery pack. Mini says that provides the same interior and cargo space as the gasoline version. The EV weighs 319 pounds more than the gas coupe with an automatic transmission.
The electric motor puts out 181 horsepower and 199 pounds-feet of torque, which Mini estimates will be good for zero-to-60 mph in 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 93 mph.
The SE includes standard capability for Level 2 charging at up to 7.4 kW (for a full charge in about four hours) as well as DC fast charging at up to 50 kW at public stations (an 80 percent charge in 35 minutes). A 50-kW fast-charging port is an extra-cost option on the base Leaf.
As you’d expect from a Mini, you can spend more with options and personalization. There will be two higher trim levels beyond the base, but the base model includes a lot of features. They include a 6.5-inch display with onboard navigation and Apple CarPlay compatibility, a front collision system with automatic braking, LED headlights and foglights, heated front seats, Mini’s digital gauge cluster, vinyl upholstery, automatic climate control and rain-sensing wipers.
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