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Mini Cooper SE: Electric Hardtop Is Ready For Driving!

  • The 2020 Mini Cooper SE is a new electrified two-door hardtop.
  • DC charging provides 80 percent battery life in about 35 minutes.
  • At just over 180 horsepower, this little Mini should be fun to drive.

Mini will finally be bringing the electrified version of their beloved little hatchback to America. Although not a direct competitor for the more upscale Tesla and Porsche offerings, it should compete rather nicely with cars like the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, and Fiat 500e. The first thing you’ll notice about the 2020 Mini Cooper SE is, well, that it looks just like a Mini. There’s no space-age styling or anything along those lines. Just that classic two box, hatchback style that sort of looks like a toaster on wheels.

What Is the Mini Cooper SE?

The Mini Cooper SE is based on the Mini Hardtop 2 Door from 2014. In terms of dimensions, it has only gotten a bump in height by a scant 18 millimeters (.7 inch, ha!). This is to make room for the floor-mounted battery packs and the new HVAC pump. The heat pump is there to maximize range during colder weather, which everyone in the Midwest will be thankful for.

Despite all of the green stuff and batteries, Mini says unequivocally the Cooper SE is still very much a Mini. Thanks to the low center of gravity and the torquey electric drivetrain, the SE retains the brand’s fun-to-drive personality. Case in point: that electric motor driving the front wheels provides 181 horsepower and 199 lb-ft. of torque. 60 mph comes up in 6.9 seconds and top speed is an adequate 93 mph. A nifty two-mode regenerative braking system helps maximize battery life.

2020 Mini Cooper SE
2020 Mini Cooper SE. Photo: BMW Group.

How Long Does It Take To Charge?

Yes, yes, you might say, but what about charging? What about all that EV stuff that makes a lot of people nervous? For starters, the Mini Cooper SE comes standard with AC Charging at up to 7.4 kW. That means you can get a 100 percent charge at home in about four hours. If you opt for DC Charging, that’ll flow in at 50 kW and can get you an 80 percent charge in as little as 35 minutes, utilizing the standard SAE Combo fast charging.

You will notice the new “Filler Flap” with LED status indicator for when your Mini Cooper SE is in charge mode. There is also a programmable locking feature as part of the charging scheme that prevents the cord from being unplugged. And get this: when your Mini is all full, it can automatically unlock to allow others needing access to the charger when using public stalls.

Mini Cooper SE
The Mini Cooper SE comes with AC Charging at up to 7.4 kW, which allows for a full charge at home in about four hours. Photo: BMW Group.

What Features Does The Mini Cooper SE Have?

The Mini Cooper SE comes standard with a base trim level that is anything but standard or base. There is an array of premium equipment, but also two additional trim levels if you want extra items and features. Inside, you’ll see the Dynamic Digital Instrument Cluster which features a digital speedometer and indicators for charge and power levels. Drivers can scroll through data like remaining range and charging/charge levels.

The standard equipment package already includes a 6.5-inch navigation display; Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth connectivity; heated front seats, washer jets, and mirrors; keyless entry; automatic climate control; LED headlights and fog lights; and a cool Storage Package. Safety features include Forward Collision Warning, Acoustic Pedestrian Warning, and a Rear View Camera.

Mini Cooper SE interior layout
Mini Cooper SE interior layout. Photo: BMW Group.

What Does The Mini Cooper SE Cost?

The new Mini Cooper SE will go on sale early March 2020 at dealers across the U.S. for $30,750 (with destination). Federal tax credits and similar state incentives will likely drop that figure significantly. Mini says qualified consumers can get a Cooper SE for as low as $17,900, along with additional incentives such as HOV lane access in some states.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz

Mini Cooper SE Gallery

Photos & Source: BMW Group.

  1. Too bad it’s not really ready for driving–March is so far away! The range-ragers will say the MINI Cooper SE will fail in the marketplace because it can’t match the EV range of a Leaf or a Bolt. However, those people don’t understand the value of a good-handling electric car with 181 hp and 199 lb-ft of instant torque, that weighs only 3009 lbs. It probably isn’t the best car for an only car, but for an urban runabout, it’s perfect.

    Well, not exactly perfect–there’s no reason to saddle an all-electric car with a blocked-off, ornamental, un-aerodynamic hood scoop. I guess we should be grateful that MINI didn’t include fake exhaust pipes, too. See my protest website: http://www.eMINIman.com

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