The Mini is a motoring icon, and although its shape is somewhat different to the original 1959 launch model, it is still a car that continues to produce thrills and smiles on the faces of those driving one. Jeremy Webb was offered a chance to get behind the wheel of a Mini Electric, and as you would expect, he didn’t need to be asked twice.
An electric car I have been so looking forward to driving is the Mini Electric. Being a child of the seventies, Minis seemed to be everywhere, with many people learning to drive in one or having one as a first car.
Minis were popular for many positive reasons, and all those reasons are still with us today. Getting in the Mini Electric was an opportunity to take me back to the mid-80s when I first experienced driving one. I was eager to see if I got the same thrills I’d experienced thirty-plus years ago.
Although modern Minis are larger than the original 1960s versions, and there are far more variants available, the design is still recognisable. The shape is iconic; you can see why all versions of the vehicle are still highly sought after today.
Inside the Mini Electric are four seats with plenty of room for all occupants and a good amount of luggage space. I took three passengers out on several occasions, and they all commented on how spacious the rear is and how comfortable the ride was. The interior is also adaptable, as the rear seats are foldable, resulting in an impressive two hundred and eleven litres of room inside a car that looks small from the outside.
The driver and passengers also get all the latest technology to keep them safe and entertained inside the car. The Mini Electric has an impressive main digital display, with a larger circle in the centre of the dashboard providing Infotainment for drivers and passengers.
The circular theme continues for the driver, with all the relevant information clearly presented. I particularly liked the car’s switches, which sat below the main central display and circular temperature controls. These reminded me of classic sports cars and planes from times gone by.
Driving the Mini Electric is a joy; it is precise, exhilarating, and comfortable. As with the original Mini, handling is exceptional with Go-Kart-like agility and fast responses. Thanks to instant power delivery, you get a real ‘push back in your seat’ experience when you put your foot down.
As with the majority of new cars, the Mini Electric has an array of safety features, but these do not reduce the car’s driveability.
The Mini Electric has four driving modes, giving a choice of performance from economical to what I would call warp speed. Green plus is the most economical, with less response from the accelerator and more regenerative braking. Next is Green which lessens the braking regeneration as acceleration improves. Mid is a compromise where acceleration and braking return is comparable, and then you have Sport, which I employed most of the time I had the vehicle. In this mode, acceleration is rapid and regenerative braking is at its lowest.
Charging is made easy thanks to the Home Charge Unit that comes with the purchase of the Mini Electric. You can also use a standard three-pin socket if you are unable to have a charging unit fitted where you live. The lack of a home charging port shouldn’t present too much of a problem nowadays as there are charging stations being installed everywhere now, from supermarkets to churches. The Mini can be recharged to maximum from empty in around four and a half hours.
It is difficult to fault Mini Electric as it does everything well. The only thing I would like to improve from a personal perspective is the range which is 145 miles. But as this is a car designed more for urban use, the range should be more than sufficient. Its compact size makes it easy to park, easy to drive in cities, cheap to run and reflects what Alec Issigonis wanted in his original design; a fun car to drive.
I frequently drove my two younger nephews around while I had the car, and they loved it, with both always having a broad smile on their faces. Mini Electric is an excellent reason to move from combustion power. With the ongoing improvement in battery technology, it’s very likely to be just as regular a sight on today’s roads as it was in the 1970s.
Mini Electric – Where and How?
There are four Mini Electrics in the range, starting at Level 1 £26,000, Level 2 £28,000, Level 3 £32,000, and finally the Collection model at £32,550. The Level 1 model is available in White Silver and Moonwalk Grey, and the battery has an eight-year warranty or 100k miles offering peace of mind. To learn more about Mini Electric, please visit www.mini.com.
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