With a spunky driving character, an attractive exterior design, and an affordable price tag, the quirky and charming Mini Cooper Electric certainly has some advantages over rival electric cars. Unfortunately, its paltry driving range isn’t one of them, as the Cooper Electric can only go about half as far per charge as other low-cost options such as the
Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Nissan Leaf. It’s more fun to drive than those offerings, however, and its acceleration times are about the same as the gasoline-powered Mini models. Plenty of creature comforts are included as standard, and the Cooper Electric comes with plenty of driver-assistance tech, too. If it weren’t for its relatively short driving range, the Cooper Electric could be a winning choice for drivers looking to switch to an EV, but it simply doesn’t have what it takes to compete with what the leaders in the electric car category have to offer.
Where This Vehicle Ranks
What’s New for 2024?
Mini has made just one small change to the all-electric Cooper SE model’s offerings, specifically the Signature Trim which is now available with the Upholstery Package upgrade. A production convertible Cooper Electric has been introduced, but unfortunately, it’s a limited edition unit exclusive to the European market.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The base Mini Cooper Electric is a great value, offering plenty of standard features such as automatic dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, faux-leather upholstery, LED front lighting, hands-free passive entry, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Buyers can personalize their Cooper Electric with different wheels, two-tone exterior color schemes, racing stripes, and interior trim.
EV Motor, Power, and Performance
The front-wheel-drive Cooper Electric’s motor makes 181 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque, and sources power from a 28.9-kWh battery. When we sampled a prototype Mini Electric, we noted its zippy acceleration. Our most recent drive helped confirm our initial impressions, however, it also introduced us to an overzealous traction-control system that prevented us from chirping the front tires and mitigated some of the fun. Still, the Mini’s trademark go-kart handling impressed us. We also saw it sprint to 60 mph in a tidy 6.1 seconds, which makes it quicker than other small EVs such as the Chevy Bolt EV (6.7 clicks). The model features two regenerative-braking modes: one that allows the car to coast much like a non-EV car when you lift off the accelerator and another that’s more aggressive and almost eliminates the need to touch the brake pedal.
Range, Charging, and Battery Life
The Cooper Electric has an estimated driving range of 110 miles on a full charge, which is significantly shorter than what alternatives such as the Bolt EV and Leaf can cover. Mini says the car’s battery can be fast charged to 80 percent in 35 minutes. If you’re using home AC charging at 7.4 kilowatts, you can completely restore the battery in four hours. The little hatchback’s two-mode regenerative braking system also helps to maximize battery charge.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPGe
The EPA gives the Mini Electric a combined MPGe rating of 110. For comparison, the Bolt EV is rated at 118 MPGe combined, and the Leaf is rated up to 111 MPGe combined. However, we won’t be able to confirm the Mini’s government estimate until we can test its real-world range on our 75-mph highway route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen. For more information about the Mini Electric’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Electric’s interior features a 5.5-inch digital gauge cluster that displays the battery’s charge level, driving range, nav info, and other infotainment functions. Every Mini Electric has dual-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, and a unique heat-pump design that uses 75 percent less energy than a traditional electric heater when warming the passenger cabin. The introduction of ambient interior lighting, complete with six different colors, adds another funky dimension to the cabin. As with the gas-powered Mini Cooper, the back seat doesn’t offer much space, and cargo room is similarly limited.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The standard central touchscreen is an 8.8-inch unit with Apple CarPlay, built-in navigation, and SiriusXM satellite radio. A smartphone app enables Mini Electric owners to heat or cool their car’s interior to a desired temperature before climbing aboard. The Mini is also available with wireless charging and a Harman/Kardon audio system.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Mini Electric does offer driver-assistance technology such as forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, and rain-sensing windshield wipers and headlights. For more information about its crash test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Available self-parking assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mini provides one of the better warranty plans compared with its competitors, and the company also includes substantial complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Electrical components are covered for eight years or 100,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for three years or 36,000 miles
2020 Mini Cooper SE
front-motor, front-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED
$37,750 (base price: $30,750)
permanent-magnet synchronous AC, 181 hp, 199 lb-ft; 28.9-kWh lithium-ion battery pack
Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 11.1-in vented disc/11.0-in disc
Tires: Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3, 205/45R-17 88W ★
Wheelbase: 98.2 in
Length: 151.4 in
Width: 68.0 in
Height: 56.4 in
Passenger volume: 80 ft3
Cargo volume: 9 ft3
Curb weight: 3099 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 6.1 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.2 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.3 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.4 sec
1/4 mile: 14.8 sec @ 91 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 93 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 169 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.85 g
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 108/115/100 MPGe
Range: 110 miles