On paper, the Mini Electric doesn’t really stack up.
Minimal range, a small battery, slow by most standards and damn expensive for a diminutive three-door hatch. Never mind, because the Mini Electric Hatch Resolute Edition is one of the coolest EVs on the planet and an absolute riot behind the wheel.
I sincerely doubt legendary Mini designer, Sir Alec Issigonis, could ever have imagined back in 1959, his iconic British city car would one day be a silent-running battery electric car zipping through the streets of London.
But here we are, in the Electric Resolute Edition, utterly resplendent in its rich Rebel Green/Pepper White paint job, and having about as much fun as anyone could possibly have driving an EV around the Sydney CBD – trademark go-kart feel very much alive and well.
You better get used it, too, because by 2030 the Mini product range will be 100 per cent electric.
But the run on Mini EVs has already begun in earnest. Year-to-date in Australia alone, the Mini Electric Hatch (or Cooper SE) has already captured 17 per cent of total Mini sales, sitting just behind the high-performance JCW units.
While the percentages might seem small, electrified Minis recorded a 102 per cent sales increase in the first half of 2022 over the same period last year.
It’s a tell-tale sign, which is also reflected on a global scale. Worldwide sales of fully electric Mini models (and sister brand BMW) more than doubled in the first half of 2022 over the same period in 2021, showing 110.3 per cent growth.
Nevertheless, we expect even die-hard Mini loyalists will have some reservations around switching from petrol to electric power based around performance figures alone.
There’s also the limited battery capacity and big premiums attached to electric Minis. I’m one of those Mini fan boys and those were the issues that shaped my own presumptions of the Mini Electric.
That is until you get up close and personal with the latest and greatest Mini special edition and looking brilliant in its Rebel Green paint job with contrasting Pepper White roof and door mirrors.
Better still, the gold Resolute bonnet stripes and bronze strip add enormously to the exclusivity of this special edition. It’s both understated and classy at the same time, as well as turning plenty of heads, was our experience – far too short lived, I might add.
Indeed, it’s my first experience with an electric Mini and I’m already shamelessly hooked on the cosmetic package alone. But isn’t that the point with a Mini Copper – EV or not?
For what it’s worth, all Mini EVs are denoted as Cooper SE versions by virtue of the yellow S badging on the front and rear of the cars. The Resolute Edition, while not officially limited in terms of build numbers, will only be in production until mid 2023.
Although Mini EVs share the same fully-electric powertrain, buyers can choose between two option packages (or trims); Classic and Mini Yours, the latter on which the Resolute Edition pulls from, while adding a bunch of kit and exclusive accents, not the least of which is it’s special paint combo borrowed from the full-blown JCW models.
As the top spec in the Mini Electric Hatch range, the Resolute Edition is priced from $63,000 plus on-road costs.
Using Mini’s own online car configurator, it works out at an eye-popping $69,968 drive-away, but on the plus side, it also gets pretty much every feature on the menu as a special edition, with no configurable options.
For a fraction less and for those that may not fancy the British Racing Green look on their Mini EV, there’s far more choice to be had with either Mini Yours Multitone Roof, or Mini Yours for the same $62,825 excluding on-road costs. Drive-away pricing for either edition is $69,601 using Mini’s configurator.
The Mini Yours Multitone Roof offers customers a choice of three optional exterior paints, five alloy wheels and two interior worlds, whereas, the Mini Yours buyers get to choose between 25 exterior paint options, five alloy wheels and two interior trims.
However, cheapest entry into the Mini’s EV world is via the Mini Electric Hatch Classic from $55,650 plus on-roads, or $61,449 drive-away. You still get to choose between a range of paint colours and three alloy wheel designs.
Regardless of which edition you decide on, it’s still a lot of money for a city-sized runabout with just 233 kilometres (maximum) driving range. There are similarly-priced vehicles that are larger inside with almost double the range.
Key rivals include:
- Hyundai Kona Electric Highlander Standard Range: $58,000
- Mazda MX-30 E35 Astina: $65,490
- Mercedes-Benz EQA 250: $76,800
- MG ZS EV Essence: $48,990 D/A
- Nissan Leaf e+: $60,490
All prices exclude on-road costs
If hopping in behind the wheel of a Mini Electric Hatch (or any other Mini) doesn’t put a smile on your face, check your ticker, because this is a fun place to be.
The big, round, trademark touchscreen seems genuinely flawed, up against the cutting-edge dual screens that have become standard fare at the premium end of the market, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
There’s a lot of functionality here, once you work it all out, with quick responses and crystal clear clarity and strong colour depth.
We particularly like the driver’s instrument display. It sits proudly on top of the steering column (perfectly placed for good vision) and a huge speedometer front and centre. Ergonomically it’s excellent and almost negates the need for a head-up display.
Mini Cooper S seats have always offered sumptuous comfort and excellent support on both the seat base and seat back, but then you also get the super-soft Nappa leather steering wheel in the Resolute and a driving position that’s hard to beat, especially if you’re going to drive this thing like… a go-kart.
Our Resolute tester was upholstered in Mini Yours lounge leather, but you can also opt for Light Gold Checkered fabric and Black Pearl leatherette seats which look just as good, if not a bit sportier and a better match to the suite of Resolute gold accents.
However, I’m still undecided on the Resolute gold trim on the dash trim – not ugly, mind, and infinitely nicer than any faux carbon-look panels.
Even the old-school shift lever works, complete with yellow accents that match the yellow EV power indicator on the floating instrument display. But, if there was ever a case for a smaller drive selector it would be for the extra-tight confines of the Mini Electric Hatch.
I’m also still a fan of the classic Mini toggle switches and the chrome dials for the climate control. They’ve done well to design a contemporary and totally functional cabin with most of the mod-cons you want (except electrically-adjustable seats – I need those), in what is one of the tightest cockpits in the business.
I’m not sure as an adult you’d ever want to attempt to get into the back seats – even young kids might struggle with legroom back there. Short trips only, like to Messina for some gelato if there’s a store nearby.
Nevertheless, there are cupholders for both seats and plenty of speakers should you be game.
Surfboards or an MTB cartage will be a challenge, because the Mini Electric’s minute 211L boot is designed for supermarket runs pretty much exclusively, we’d suggest.
You can fold the rear seats if you have two people on board and make use of a more accommodating 731L of volume, but there’s a decent lip to contend with, so the useable space seems less than the quoted volume.
There’s no spare wheel under the floor either, with all versions of the Mini Hatch using run-flat tyres. Not sure there’s any way around that, either given the Mini’s tiny dimensions.
All versions of the Mini Electric Hatch (including the Resolute), are powered by a 135kW/270Nm electric motor, out of the now extinct BMW i3, driving the front axle. It also gets the BMW’s single-speed transmission and anti-slip controller (for stability control) situated near the wheels.
That motor is fuelled by a relatively small 32.6kWh battery pack, of which 28.9kWh is usable. For reference, even the Hyundai Kona Electric Standard Range features a 39.2kWh capacity.
Mini claims a maximum driving range of 233 kilometres on the WLTP cycle, which again is at the lower end of what’s on offer from almost all EV rivals. Only the Mazda MX-30 Electric quotes less range (200km).
As for driving performance, the company claims the Cooper SE will dart from 0-100 in 7.3 seconds and hit a top speed of 150km/h. That’s about half a second off the petrol-powered Mini Cooper S 3-Door Hatch (6.7 seconds). Don’t let that bother you, even if you’re an enthusiast.
Mini Australia doesn’t quote consumption figures in its local marketing, but a global guide says the claimed energy of the Cooper SE 3-Door Hatch is 15.2-17.6kWh/100km on the WLTP cycle. Our test car’s trip computer was showing an average of 17.0kWh/100km, but it’s fair to say, we weren’t holding back.
While the tiny battery doesn’t offer a lot of range, it makes for pretty quick charging even using older technology. Mini says the Electric Hatch supports only up to 50kW DC fast charging, though even at that rate you can replenish 80 per cent from zero in just 36 minutes.
That extends to 3.12 hours if you charge via a 7.4kW AC charger via a Type 2 plug.
Don’t expect any headway in Mini E’s range department any time soon, either, or at least until it develops an all-new EV-only platform for the next generation of electric Minis.
Don’t let the numbers dismay your interest in the Mini Electric, or worse still, put you off going for a test drive. It’s something you’ll only regret.
Granted, it might not deliver the kind of performance we have come to expect from a Mini Cooper S with quite the same gusto as its petrol-powered siblings or even larger and faster EVs, but toggle through to Sport mode (there’s also Normal, Green and Green+ for max range), and I guarantee you’re still going to have a smile on your face.
It’s not quick, but it’s properly punchy, either out of the blocks or from rolling start. There’s a nice meaty weight to the steering feel, too, even in the less aggressive drive modes, but all the major controls sharpen up in Sport.
Honestly, I didn’t want for any more pace – at least on a diet of tight city streets, ripping from one side of the CBD to the other. It still feels satisfyingly rapid.
If you’re a fan of one-pedal driving (I can’t get enough of it), then you’ve got a ‘regen’ toggle switch next to the Start/Stop switch which gives sets the car for Low (like a standard ICE car), or Intensive for max regeneration.
The latter is the one you want – so the moment you come off the throttle, the car rapidly decelerates without the need to apply the brake pedal. And, don’t worry about the car behind you, the brake lights are automatically activated.
I’d also forgotten just how low you sit in a Mini Cooper – your bottom is hanging near the ground – but, wow, it’s such a hoot.
That go-kart feel that Mini use so often as a marketing slogan is spot on – and it’s no different in the Mini Electric Hatch – it’s addictive.
You just want go flat through corners – yes, even in the CBD. You won’t want to give it back.
I found myself automatically lining in the left lane at the traffic lights to avoid the queue, and then boom, you’re gone. Just like a motorbike. So much fun.
We also had to negotiate a six-level carpark at Fox Studios where we drove some electric go-karts and to be honest it felt like the set on The Italian Job.
Mini Electric Hatch Resolute Edition highlights:
- Rebel Green exterior paint with Pepper White roof and mirrors
- Mini Yours lounge leather in carbon black
- 17-inch Tentacle Spoke alloy wheels in black
- Sports seats for driver and front passenger with heating
- Dual-zone climate control
- Keyless entry and start
- Floor mats in velour with Mini Electric logo
- Head-up display
- Harman Kardon sound system with 12 speakers
- LED headlights for low and high beam with headlight assist
- 8.8-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation
- Five-inch digital instrument display
- Nappa leather steering wheel
- Front and rear parking sensors with reversing camera
- Panoramic sunroof
- Remote Services for viewing charge state and locking etc.
- Resolute bonnet stripes and sill plates
- Resolute brass exterior finishers
- Headlight, tail light surrounds
- Grille surround
- Door handles
- Rear grab handle
- Resolute badging on steering wheel centre
- Tail lights with Union Jack design
- Wireless Apple CarPlay
- Wireless phone charger
- Mini driving modes
The Mini 3-Door Hatch wears a four-star ANCAP safety rating based on testing conducted by Euro NCAP in 2014.
It received a frontal offset score of 14.60 out of 16, a side impact score of 12.19 out of 16, pedestrian and whiplash protection ratings of Good and Acceptable, respectively, and an overall score of 31.78 out of 37.
ANCAP reported (based on Euro NCAP testing) that the Mini 3-Door Hatch failed to meet the minimum threshold in the side impact test for a five-star rating, with driver chest and abdomen protection rated as Marginal.
Standard safety features include:
- AEB (city) with pedestrian detection
- Forward collision warning
- Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
- Lane departure warning
- Reversing camera
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Traffic sign recognition
Notable omissions include high-speed AEB, lane-keep assist and the option of blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, all features standard or at least available on similarly-priced rivals.
Like parent brand BMW, the entire Mini line-up is covered by a three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty which falls short of other premium and mainstream brands – most offer at least five years of coverage these days.
However, it also includes three years roadside assist, while the battery is covered for eight years and 160,000km.
Mini offers Service Inclusive packages for Mini Electric Hatch for six years at a cost of $1280 for Basic and $4055 for the Plus package.
Basic includes things like changing the micro filter for the AC, brake fluid, as well as a general vehicle check-up and charging up to 75-80 per cent. Plus adds front and rear brake rotors and pads, as well as windscreen wipers blades.
There’s no denying it’s big bucks for a pint-sized car with loads of shortcomings; tiny battery, minimal range and slow by today’s line-up of hot-hatches.
Clearly, it’s not a value proposition, and there are specific caveats for Mini Electric buyers: city or suburban based, average commute distance of 28km per day, and no endurance racing.
But seriously, if you’re like most city-slickers and relish the idea of brushing the bowser in favour of a nightly charge, then the Mini Electric Hatch Resolute Edition is going to make the commute the highlight of your day and the envy of all.
And, how good does it look!
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