MINI Electric adds a serious fun factor to this EV

The inexorable EV march continues as new ways of greener motoring are explored, a fragmented charging network apart the other ‘problem’ levelled at EVs is they lack character, they don’t set your driving senses alight. However, not all EVs are equal and I have been driving one that offers all the fun and character of a hot hatch.

The MINI Electric 3 is not cheap, €34,024 (£31,000) even with the €3,292 (£3,000) UK government grant, prices start from €27,563 (£25,100) for the MINI Electric 1, so you really have to want a car that will realistically only ever be a commuter car, probably secondary to a traditionally powered vehicle. The reason? Range, or rather lack of it.

MINI quote a 144 mile range but this is ideal world not real world. Even driving carefully, to maximise the MINI’s clever energy regeneration, I would think about 110 miles is going to be your limit, possibly slightly less if range anxiety kicks in.

Now if this seems like a bad start lets redress the balance, there are so many positives to the MINI Electric. Unlike the sometimes anodyne driving experience of many modern cars the MINI is huge fun to drive. The instant throttle response produces instant power that charges the MINI to 62 mph in 7.3 seconds. But that really doesn’t do justice to the sense of speed, the instant power leaves many more powerful cars struggling to catch-up.

It charges quickly from a fast public charger, or a home charger (and you really do need a home charger), admittedly it has a small battery but nonetheless charging is surprisingly quick. Another surprise was how using the plethora of standard goodies, including heated seats, didn’t seem to unduly dent the battery’s charge level any more than would normally be the case.

Nicely bolted together and with a quality feel, the MINI has a reassuringly solid ambience. A firmish ride still soaks up the bumps and comforts the posterior. Space is at somewhat of a premium in the luggage department thanks to those batteries, but inside two people are amply catered for and an additional two certainly wouldn’t complain on shorter journeys.

I suspect even the most ardent car fan, if their motoring requirements were suited to an EV, would find the MINI Electric a very welcome addition to their garage. I certainly did….even though, sadly, I had to give it back!

Facts at a Glance

  • Model: MINI Electric Level 3
  • Engine: 32.6 kWh battery
  • Gears: Automatic
  • Performance: 0-100 kmh (62 mph) 7.3 seconds/Maximum Speed 249 kmh (93 mph)
  • Economy: Range 144 miles
  • Charge time: Domestic (non Wallbox) 12 hours/Fast public charger 36 minutes
  • Emissions: 0 g/km

Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.

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