The Mini Electric, the company’s first fully-electric model, has been unveiled at the car-maker’s Oxford factory.
Mini claimed the car could be a “tipping point” and encourage motorists who have been considering switching to an electric vehicle to “take that step now”.
Manufacturing of the Mini Electric will begin at the plant in Cowley, Oxford, later this year, with deliveries beginning in spring 2020. The zero-emission vehicle will be fully integrated into the production process at Oxford, running down the same lines as conventionally-fuelled Mini models.
The Mini Electric forms part of parent company BMW’s electric vehicle offensive. By 2023, the company plans to have 25 electrified (regular hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric) models on the market, with more than half of those being fully-electric cars.
Unsurprisingly, the Mini Electric is immediately recognisable as a three-door Mini hatchback, with only a few visual clues to distinguish it from the rest of the range. The biggest giveaway is the enclosed grille instead of the traditional louvred design.
Boot space is claimed to be exactly the same as regular Mini hatch models, at 211 litres with the rear seats up. Inside, the Mini Electric gets a new digital dashboard in place of traditional analogue dials, which can also display charging and battery use information.
Mini claims the electric powerplant will allow off-the-line acceleration comparable to the Cooper S performance model, with a 0-60mph time of 7.3 seconds. Top speed, however, is rather lower than the petrol models at 93mph – which is common for electric cars. In real-world use, it means that motorway driving at 70-ish mph is pushing the car’s limits rather than a comfortable cruise.
Range on a full charge is claimed at 124-144 miles, according to the official WLTP lab tests. In the real world, this is likely to mean about 100 miles.
Pricing starts at £24,400 on-road (after the government plug-in grant is included), with Mini targeting customers who want to finance or lease the car for under £300 per month. Like most Mini models, however, this can quite quickly be ramped up by several thousand pounds once you start delving into the options list.
The Mini Electric is on sale now. Production will commence later this year, with first customer deliveries expected early next year.