Mini Introduces New Cooper SE Electric with Lackluster Range

A few short years ago, there were very few players in the electric vehicle marketplace, with cars like the first-generation Leaf topping out with 73 miles of range. Since then, we’ve seen EVs like the Tesla Model 3 that are rated with 310 miles of range and some models can go even farther between finding a charge point. In this growing and competitive market, Mini introduced an all-new electric Mini, called the Cooper SE.

The Cooper SE is an all electric car with a 135 kW electric motor good for 181 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque. Mini doesn’t cite U.S. EPA estimated range numbers, but they are claiming a range of 235 to 270 kilometers. A direct conversion to miles would be — checks notes — 146 miles. Since the European testing cycle is optimistic, the EPA range is likely to sit around 114 miles according to Automotive News.

That’s missing the mark. By a lot.

Maybe it’ll make up for the lack of range by fast charging? Mini says that the Cooper SE will be take advantage of 50 kW fast charging. The Leaf Plus can use a 100 kW fast charger, and Tesla’s later Supercharger stations can pump out the juice at 250 kW. So does it make up for it in charging? No.

Maybe the driving experience will be better in this than other EVs? Mini claims that the Cooper SE is only 319 pounds heavier than the Cooper S with the automatic transmission. On a car this size, that weight would be noticeable if you drove them both back-to-back, but at 3,009 pounds the Cooper SE is still pretty light. Though there aren’t too many people who climb out of a Model 3, especially the Performance version, and think that the experience wasn’t fun.

Mini suggests a 0-60 mph run in 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 93.2 mph. Car and Driver tested a Kona EV and it did the same run in 6.2 seconds (and our first drive proved it to be more sprightly than advertised around town). Nissan’s Leaf Plus has a top speed of 99 mph; the Kona can do 104.

So why choose the Mini Cooper SE over the competition? Because it’s a Mini? Like the bigger, PHEV Countryman SE with an electric range of just 12 miles, the Cooper SE misses the mark on competitiveness. It looks great, especially with the concept’s wheels and the yellow trim pieces, and it’ll surely drive well on a back road. But Minis aren’t usually cheap transportation, making this an expensive city runabout once the brand publishes the official MSRP.

Minis are some of the best driving front-wheel drive cars on the planet, but this one reeks of emissions compliance. Mini is a better car company than this. In this competitive segment they need to do better.

[Images: Mini]

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