As Mini continues to infiltrate an increasing number of Indian garages as an everyday car that has more zing than zoom, its electric avatar could make it a tad more palatable. With surging fuel prices and the assured bustle at fuelling stations, it’s only obvious for your everyday automobile to be electric, something the Mini Cooper SE manages to be.
It is a step up from the Mini Cooper S, albeit a rather short one. But that’s always saying something about Mini who is generally conservative with what they choose to improve in subsequent models.
Among many things, the Mini Cooper SE is fun to drive, is peppy, makes city traffic seem like a fun place to be in, and has its endearing lineage carried forward at every inch. Being electric, it is 145 kg heavier than the S because of the T-shaped battery that contributes to its bulk. While this doesn’t take the sting out of the acceleration, it could be a contributor to a rather modest range of just 160 to 210km on a full charge.
This will make you sweat if you land any kind of traffic while shuttling between Mumbai and Pune, for instance. So, much for a weekend getaway. What the electric motor
does impress us is with 184hp and 270Nm torque. Charging is quick and convenient with compatibility offered for household sockets, wall boxes, or public charging stations. It can charge to 80 per cent of the battery capacity in two-and-a-half hours. The final twenty per cent does take an entire hour, though.
Driving the Mini Cooper SE is exhilarating because of its spontaneous power delivery and low centre of gravity. It can propel from stationary to 100 kmph in just 7.3 seconds, which is more than what you expect from a vehicle that handles your daily grind.
The electric nature of the SE is carried into the cockpit too. The digital instrument console is cool and modern while retaining classic Mini sensibilities. Certain models come with a 5-inch instrument cluster with a Black Panel design. You can enjoy the colourful interface that depicts essential gauges and colour codes for the driving modes for your convenience — red for SPORT, white for MID, green for GREEN, and GREEN+ modes. The latter has been specifically fashioned for the SE, which is as light on energy consumption as it is on your conscience. You even get a choice of gear selector levers on the centre console and an electric parking brake that can be controlled from the central console.
The SE is configured to cut down on speed as soon as the driver takes their feet off the accelerator. This can be convenient when on a highway because you can really only use a single pedal to accelerate and decelerate. That’s not all. This function also serves to convert kinetic energy back into electrical energy which is fed into the battery, creating more power to extend your driving range. As mentioned before, the Mini Cooper SE doesn’t bring a world of changes when it comes to the design of the S model. It sticks to the three-part structure that treats the body, all-round greenhouse, and roof as design modules that come together to create a great-looking hatchback. Mini doesn’t seem to want you to forget that you’re in an electric car because the Mini Electric logo finds you in a yellow form at the turn indicator inserts, side scuttles, the tailgate, and even the front radiator grille. It’s like a moving billboard for the arrival of an electric Mini Cooper, and why not.
It is aerodynamic, which makes it lithe and sporty, with a specially designed rear apron to reduce drag. It rides on 17-inch alloy wheels with an all-new Power Spoke 2-tone version that is a speciality of the SE and is likely to be one of the key distinguishing factors of the electric version.
The Mini Cooper SE remains a Mini Cooper at heart. It may not travel long and far with you but it will surely turn heads and corners like it's nobody’s business. It’s a great buy if you want to head to work without trudging through city traffic. It’s no different than a go-karting experience with this feisty little one.
Motor: Single electric, Front wheel drive
Output: 135 kW/184 hp with 270 nM of torque
Range (claimed): 240 km
Top speed: 150 kmph
0 to 100 kmph: 7.3 seconds
Price: Rs48.7 lakh (ex-showroom)