Electric cuteness took over the 2018 New York International Auto Show in the form of the Mini Electric Concept, and today the automaker unveiled the production version: the 2020 Mini Cooper SE. Based off the two-door version of the Hardtop model, it retains much of the regular version’s signature style and the concept’s electrified flair.
Mini calls the model its first fully electric Mini, but in 2008 it produced the Mini E electric car — though just 500 were available for lease to select markets in California, New York and New Jersey. The new model will go on sale with wider availability.
Outside, the SE wears its electric status in a few key places, including the closed-off grille with yellow plug icon, yellow mirror caps and optional asymmetrical Corona Spoke wheels — all borrowed from the concept.
The front-wheel-drive electric car shares some components of its powertrain with the BMW i3 electric and gets the equivalent of 181 horsepower. Mini said it can go from zero-to-62 miles per hour in 7.3 seconds and has a top speed of 93.2 mph.
A T-shaped battery pack of 12 lithium-ion modules sits under the floor, which Mini says helps maximize passenger and cargo room. The battery pack can be charged overnight via a standard outlet or through a fast-charging station where it can be charged to 80 percent in 35 minutes. No word yet on U.S. range capabilities, but Mini puts European range estimates at 235 to 270 kilometers, which translates to about 146 to 168 miles. In comparison, base models of the BMW i3 are EPA rated to have 153 miles of range.
Like other electric vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf, it can be operated via one pedal thanks to a regenerative braking system. If programmed, the car will begin decelerating when the driver’s foot is taken off the accelerator pedal, capturing that energy to charge the battery and reducing the need to use the traditional brakes.
The Cooper SE will be offered in Signature, Signature Plus and Iconic trim levels. Production will begin in the U.K. later this year with U.S. availability to follow.
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