Hybrids & Electrics

The 2020 Mini Cooper SE Is the Perfect EV if You Don’t Need Range

As more electric vehicles hit the market, most people understand that EVs are environmentally-friendly and offer ever-increasing ranges. Some high-end EVs offer stunning electric ranges. Most people for their daily commutes don’t need a massive range. What if you didn’t need more than 110 miles of range daily? If so, we have an EV to tell you about – the 2020 Mini Cooper SE. 

The 2020 Mini Cooper SE

Yes, the Mini Cooper has tossed its hat into the EV ring, and the team at Car and Driver took it for a spin. Coming in at the lower end of the EV segment, the 2020 Mini Cooper SE is a pleasant surprise. 

Let’s get the range out of the way first. The 2020 Mini Cooper SE has an EPA-estimated range of 110 miles with its 28.9-kWh battery. If you live fairly close to your job and can fit any daily other trips under that limit, the Mini Cooper might be a great option for you.

The Mini Cooper SE offers several benefits. It’s lighter, has more cargo space, and you can get it for a very reasonable price. With a starting price of $30,750, the Mini Cooper costs less than other entry-level EVs that have bigger ranges.

A budget-EV performance car? According to the team at Car and Driver, when you factor in the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit, the 2020 Mini Cooper SE has a final cost of $23,250. For a car that goes from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.1 seconds? That’s attention-getting.

A fun drive on a budget

With an engine borrowed from the BMW i3s, the Mini Cooper SE has a lot to offer. It sends 181 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque through to the front wheels, It may not have the muscle of a Chevy Bolt or Kia Niro EV, but it can get to 60 mph faster than the competition. As Car and Driver pointed out, yes, weight matters.

At just 3,099 pounds, the Mini Cooper SE is almost 500 pounds lighter than the Bolt. Its small, 12-module battery helps keep its weight down. The pack’s position between the front seats and under the rear seats also helps its center of gravity.  

The SE’s dimensions are also slightly different from that of the Cooper S. Its 58/42-percent front-to-back distribution of weight works better than the S which carries more weight up front. The SE rides 0.7 inches higher for battery clearance but its center of gravity is actually 1.2 inches lower.

Did we mention the SE features Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 performance summer tires?

The differences between the EV and standard Cooper are subtle. There are trim pieces on the exterior in bright yellow from the Mucinex palette that you can delete. The trim has distinctive three-hole asymmetric wheels to make the Cooper SE more aerodynamic. You’ll also find distinctive badges on the flanks, grille, and hatch.

A good option for some

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If you don’t need more than a 110-mile range and can charge the battery each night, you might find the 2020 Mini Cooper SE is an affordable and fun option. It comes with a standard SAE Combo 50-kW DC fast charger. It can supposedly bring the battery up to an 80-percent charge in just 36 minutes.

In the absence of a charger, there’s an included TurboCord that can charge up the battery using either a 120 or 240-volt outlet. The 240-volt outlet can charge up the battery in just eight hours. You can charge it up in four hours with a Level 2 charger and a 240-volt outlet.

You also get a surprising number of features with the 2020 Mini Cooper SE. The base Signature trim offers 16-inch wheels, Apple CarPlay, black leatherette upholstery, camera-based automatic emergency braking, heated mirrors and washer jets, heated seats, LED headlights, and navigation. You can’t get adaptive cruise control though.

A different type of EV, the 2020 Mini Cooper SE is for those who enjoy driving and don’t need a long range. If that’s you, the Mini Cooper SE is a good deal – at an affordable price.