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2020 MINI Cooper SE Electric: Yeah, Well, Um……..

100 miles to the ‘tank’.  That’s the range on a full charge of the 2020 all-electric MINI Cooper SE. 100 miles.  Maybe 110.  

I will tell you honestly, I have mixed feelings about this car, which starts at just under $30K.

My first big positive impression came when I hit the gas. You know that feeling when the car accelerates quickly and your head is thrown back into the head restraint, just like in those flying saucer movies? You get that every time you hit the gas, even just a little. That kind of acceleration capability for an electric car is beyond amazing.  Big snaps to Mini for that one.

But if you’ve ever been on the Bumper Car ride at an amusement park, you know that you have to press the gas hard with your foot to go, and once your foot comes of the pedal, the car just dies. The juice is gone; the power is gone. That’s more or less what happens here and indeed with all electric cars.

You could drive all day long and not hit the brakes unless something jumps out in front of you. The key to driving an electric car, to including this one, is to ride the gas and use it as though it were also the brake and the clutch. Using the brakes every time you need to stop, as is habit, won’t work too smoothly here. 

You have to drive an electric car differently. This year’s Mini SE has a lot of umph when you do hit the gas but the moment you let off the pedal, it safely reduces your speed to almost zero. Quickly. It’s electric: you cut the cord and everything shuts down.  More or less. 

(Also know that with a Mini Cooper, the yellow button to start the car is squarely center-stage in the lower dash near the other buttons by the cup holders.  If you don’t know that it is not directly on the dash under the steering wheel….. you are screwed.)

But, perhaps, the feature to which I just could not adjust is the fact that with a full charge, you get a range of only 100 miles. In and of itself, that’s a letdown, but charging here in America is still a hit and miss effort.  You can do super charging but that can still take a couple of hours.  Mini recommends you charge it overnight, which means that you should have a garage.  And patience.   

I admit it, I like gasoline engines. They are going the way of the stegosaurus but they are still the best option if you don’t keep up on everything all the time, like I don’t. With an electric car, you really have to plan ahead. With the Mini electric, you have to plan, think and act ahead, hopefully with enough time. In warm weather, I like to wake up, throw on clothes (if I must), put on some flip-flops and just go. You get the picture.

For me, having an electric car in 2020 is still not completely feasible unless you have a garage and ‘time’ to care for it.  You are saving the planet, yes, but at what cost to your sanity? (I also found so many operational parts to be just a bit too mechanical.  I could never fully figure out how to adjust the seat, but that’s me.)

Again, I will let my biases be known: I am still not completely sold on electric cars AND I do like engines that rev and spurt and smell like gasoline.  Kinky, I know.  More importantly, this Mini Cooper is so small that the practicality of it is particular to your tastes.

But I do like MINI Coopers, even though most have just two doors and effectively no trunk space. So choose wisely.

The vehicle pictured here is a special trim that will add another $7K to the cost.  Just so you know……….

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One thought on “2020 MINI Cooper SE Electric: Yeah, Well, Um……..

  • “hit the gas” somehow doesn’t sound right, but I guess you did admit you like gasoline engines, so I shouldn’t expect you to “hit the accelerator.” The 110-mile EPA range does limit this to being the first car in a multiple-car household. “First” because if you have a Prius or an F-150 sitting in the garage alongside your MINI when you have to decide which car to take to the store for a six-pack, you’ll choose the MINI first.

    I picked up my MINI Cooper SE today after waiting many months for it. I’m so happy MINI didn’t hamper the acceleration and handling by saddling this car with a heavy, long-range battery. This car was meant for fun. Buy a Tesla if your grandkids live more than 100 miles away.

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