BMW and Mini Chickened Out of the 2021 EV of the Year Contest, Car and Driver Presumes

For its inaugural year, Car and Driver pulled out all the stops to name its EV of the Year. Among 11 EVs scrutinized over three weeks, the Ford Mustang Mach-E pulled ahead of the competition to claim the title. And though the 2021 Mach-E fully deserves the title, one can’t help but notice a few key players missing from the contest — notably, the BMW i3 and Mini Cooper SE.

Car and Driver named the 2021 Mustang Mach-E its EV of the Year

After about three weeks of putting 11 EVs through their paces, Car and Driver picked the 2021 Mustang Mach-E to take home the trophy for EV of the Year. The competition was stiff and included the Tesla Model 3 Performance, Volkswagen ID.4, Polestar 2, Nissan Leaf Plus, Tesla Model Y Performance, Kia Niro EV, Audi e-tron, Porsche Taycan 4S, Volvo XC40 Recharge, and Tesla Model S Long Range Plus.

Though the competitors held their own throughout Car and Driver‘s tests, the Mustang Mach-E won in part due to its impressive specs — 346 hp and 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds — and its spirit. The title of EV of the Year was meant to pick the most impressive EV out there, of course, but it was also to determine a winner that “makes electric vehicles more desirable to buyers to a degree that moves the industry forward,” C/D said. And the 2021 Mach-E does just that.

But 2 notable models were missing from the contest

A blue BMW i3 electric car charges its battery outside the BMW factory on May 20, 2019, in Leipzig, Germany
BMW i3 EV | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Though the 2021 Mustang Mach-E earned its title of EV of the Year, a few models didn’t even compete. Two of the most notable omissions were the BMW i3 and Mini Cooper SE. Car and Driver addressed the exclusions by stating, “BMW and Mini kept their respective 153-mile i3s and 110-mile Cooper SE parked, presumably spooked by the prospect of how they would perform on a 1,000-mile road trip.”

The BMW i3 has been a popular EV since its introduction in 2013. Meant to be used as a city car, the 2021 i3 has a range of 153 miles, which falls below every other car in the running for EV of the Year. As if to underscore its absence from the competition, BMW is halting production of the i3 this month in favor of other EVs, like the iX and the i4 Gran Coupe.

The 2021 Mini Cooper SE has an even shorter range at 110 miles, posing a problem in this stiff competition. But the Cooper has been at the forefront of the EV movement for years, and it seems strange that Mini opted out of the contest. As Car and Driver pointed out, perhaps Mini knew this Cooper couldn’t measure up.

Other EVs that didn’t compete

On top of the BMW i3 and Mini Cooper SE, Car and Driver mentions a few other popular EVs that weren’t included for various reasons. For example, their automakers didn’t supply the Jaguar I-Pace and Chevrolet Bolt EUV for the competition ahead of their releases.

In addition, the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Hyundai Kona Electric were left out by their manufacturers because the 2022 models were too close to being released. Similarly, Hyundai did not want to include the 2021 Ioniq with the 2022 Ioniq 5 set to debut soon.

RELATED: The 2022 BMW X3 Is Killing the Plug-in Hybrid Powertrain in the U.S.