By on October 28, 2019

Our big concern for Mini’s upcoming electric hatchback was that it wouldn’t have sufficient range to make sense in the United States. The company seemed to be more interested in producing a rambunctious urban runabout, rather than something that could serve as a do-anything, go-anywhere EV. But we figured we’d wait to see where BMW Group planned on pricing the thing before folding arms and furrowing brows.

As it turns out, the Mini Cooper SE’s starting MSRP will be $30,750 (including destination). While that undercuts the cost of some “rival” models by several grand, the Mini EV brings less to the party.

The front-wheel-drive SE makes 181 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque, pulling the entirety of that energy from a 32.6-kWh battery pack. Zero to 60 takes a relatively brisk 6.9 seconds and the car tops out at 93 mph. Recharge times are said to be an enviable four hours, using a 7.4 kW home AC charging port, with fast-charge stations returning 80 percent of the vehicle’s maximum range in just 35 minutes.

Our own Environmental Protection Agency usually tamps down Europe’s WLTP testing-cycle estimates, meaning the 146-mile range Mini has promised for the SE will likely come down a bit when the car goes on sale in the United States. Nissan’s base Leaf is priced within a few bucks of the electric Mini and comes with a larger 40 kW battery pack that’s guaranteed to deliver more miles per charge.

While that makes it look like an easy victory for the Leaf, and every other EV offering superior range for a few thousand extra dollars (Tesla Model 3, Chevrolet Bolt, etc.), Mini believes the brand’s fun factor and upscale appeal will help see it through. It’s acceleration could be trumped by a Leaf Plus… but the handling should be a lock. BMW Group has suggested the Mini Cooper SE has retained the gas-driven Hardtop’s nimble demeanor — making it ideal around town, where its diminished range will be less of an issue. The manufacturer also said it views the smaller battery as an opportunity to save weight. But we would liked to have seen something larger and more practical, consequences be damned.

New standard features include a smartphone app that allows you to control the vehicle’s climate settings from afar, new 5.5-inch digital gauge display (above), heated front seats, and a driver assistance suite the company plans on explaining in greater detail closer to its American launch.

We’ll see how receptive the public is next year. Expect to see the 2020 Mini Cooper SE going on sale in March.


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10 Comments on “Cheap Electronics: 2020 Mini Cooper SE Pricing Announced...”

  • avatar

    This would have been ideal if they kept the Mini, you know, mini. Friend of the family had an original Mini in Newport, RI so that he could fit into tiny parking spaces downtown in the summer season that his G-Wagen couldn’t fit into; it made a perfect city runabout. The modern-day Mini is a nice enough car for a long haul that it doesn’t need to rely on tiny parking places to justify its existence. But a Mini that’s no longer small enough to fit in tiny parking places as an urban runabout, and no longer practical enough to get from LA to San Diego without stopping for an hour to juice up? What, at this stage, is the point?

    • 0 avatar

      It’s still one of if not THE smallest car on sale here with the demise of the 500 and impending demise of the Smart. You can’t really get much smaller and be feasible in North America.

  • avatar

    More choices is better than fewer choices. I like it. Hopefully it has an actively cooled battery.

  • avatar

    I’m sure these will sell in double digit numbers. Especially if single occupant access to the carpool lane is granted.
    In other news, people are demanding higher prices and limited range for all new cars!

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Honestly, if it retains the “fun factor” of the regular Minis and has the rebates attached I might be game at that price.

  • avatar

    Yeah it makes sense for an urban runabout, and has style the Leaf can only dream of. There will be a market.

  • avatar

    This will be an interesting test case. The 80-mile crop of compliance cars like the original Leaf, e-Golf, Focus Electric, etc. clearly didn’t have enough range even to be a useful second car for many people. But I think this is enough range for a second car, and it’s usefully cheaper than long-range EVs. It should also be eligible for a tax credit that will make its net price $25k or so for well-heeled buyers. I suspect it might sell decently, taking into account the malaise that’s affecting the Mini brand overall since the cars turned into restyled 1-series.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I support their choice of a smaller, lighter battery to retain some semblance of handling characteristics. As a commuter car, it would likely suffice to plug into a standard outlet every day or every other day. I like the styling and retro interior of the Mini, though I would have preferred a sub 6 second 0-60.

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