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Mini Electric – long-term review

Does the Mini Electric cure range anxiety?

Specification:
Cooper S Electric 3
Engine:
1 e-motor, 181bhp
Claimed MPG:
3.9m miles per kWh, 141 mile range
Performance:
0-62mph in 7.3sec, 93mph
Weight:
1365kg
Price:
£30,900 / £33,900 as tested / £427pcm

Some people become paranoid when the range readout drops below about 100 miles. Not an issue here, because the range readout rarely goes above 100, despite the WLTP claimed figure of 141 miles. It’s not just the Mini, either. Live with any electric car for a while and you learn not to believe a) the claims or b) what the range readout happens to be saying at that particular moment.

In an urban environment, a single mile can miraculously morph into five or even 10. But hoofing it along a back road or on the motorway, you’ll chomp through energy like a drug-addled Pac-Man. I’ve got good at sticking to the speed limit in this car, usually in an effort to get home without suffering a squeaky bum. Fully charged the best the TG Mini lifer has shown is a range of 103 miles. Usually it’s about 97. Neither of these, you’ll observe, is 141.

Maybe the electricity from the 7kW wallbox at home isn’t as good as the stuff in a fast charger. Maybe the ambient temperature is a factor. There are so many variables in this EV malarkey, it’s no wonder people are a bit confused.

Not that I’m down about this car. In fact, it’s mostly brilliant. The secret with an EV is in figuring out if you can make one fit into your life. Mini and Honda’s propagandists dodge the claims that their cars are range-limited by pointing out that most people drive an average of 20 miles per day. This is true. Our Mini is doing more like 40 miles per day, which equates to two daily commutes and a nightly charge during a working week. But while it suits this specific pattern of behaviour, it’s marginal for longer journeys.

For example, a round trip from my home to Heathrow is beyond it, and a visit to Bristol last month meant borrowing Mr Turner’s Porsche Panamera. In other words, the Mini Electric, and plenty of its rivals, still have ‘second car’ status. In addition to their higher showroom price, this makes them a luxury good, and that’s not very democratic…

What do you think?

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