Mini's first all-electric Cooper debuts, arrival date in North America uncertain

Mini's first all-electric Cooper debuts, arrival date in North America uncertain

It is capable of 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds and has a top speed of 93mph.

It also comes in the middle of BMW's 60th anniversary of the original 1959 Mini, and nine years on from the British brand's first attempt at an all-electric model. In Europe, the SE will have a range of 146 to 168 miles, but U.S. EPA figures have yet to be announced.

They're hardly inspiring numbers.

If this is the case it would be powered by a 34kWh battery which could produce around 120-miles of range on a single charge.

While the original Mini was built by the British Motor Corporation in response to fuel rationing following the Suez crisis of 1956, the latest version will help BMW, which relaunched the Mini brand in 2000, reduce the average emissions of the cars it sells to meet European Union carbon dioxide emissions limits. The Cooper SE is based on the 3-door model, with its electric motor under the hood and the 32.6 kWh battery a T-shaped block under the floor. No one will mistake it for a high-end sports vehicle, then, but that's comparable to the Mini Cooper S. The instant 199 foot-pounds of EV torque and lower center of gravity could give it an edge, too.

The charge port is located just above the passenger-side rear wheel, right where the standard model's gas cap would be found. Owners can plug the auto into a standard household outlet, but that'd be a very slow charging option. As a outcome, the Cooper SE is only about 145 kilograms (320 pounds) heavier than a three-door Cooper S fitted with the Steptronic transmission. The front grille itself is closed off, and is flanked with LED headlamps.

The SE will have multiple regenerative-braking modes, with one offering one-pedal driving. Optional 17-inch aerodynamic wheels have an asymmetrical design, while the standard wheels come in at 16-inches. In Sport mode, the steering is more direct and the drive system responds more spontaneously. In GREEN+ mode, for example, HVAC and seat heating are either limited or deactivated to save power. There are also two levels of brake regeneration. The large central information screen is still there, with touchscreens available in 5.5-, 6.5- and 8.8-inch sizes. With the latter, a 35 minute charge is good for 80-percent of the battery.

While the cabin will look familiar to current Mini owners, the SE does get a model-specific digital instrument cluster with various selectable modes that display different colours.

That may not be enough, when you consider how fierce the small EV space is getting.

While Mini has said we should expect the Cooper SE to show up on North American shores, it hasn't released a timeline for when that'll happen.

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