The Mini Electric offers environmentally friendly driving in typical Mini fashion
Mini Electric Review
Although the Mini Electric was born in 2020, the Mini brand itself – now owned by BMW – has a fantastic heritage going back decades. The first Mini was built in Cowley, Oxford, way back in 1959.
This shiny new electric Mini builds on the brand’s history. It’s a go-kart-like, compact, front wheel drive, modern electric car that puts a smile on your face every time you get in.
Visually, from the outside, it looks pretty much like a ‘normal’ petrol Mini. But the instant torque of its 135 kW electric motor gives you Cooper S performance in a wonderfully peaceful, stylish interior.
Read our Mini Electric review below for a quick overview of its price, trim levels, range in miles on a single charge, and available options via the Mini online configurator.
- Looks and feels like a Mini
- Cooper S level performance
- BMW build quality
- Trim Level 1 is well-priced
- Range on a single charge could be better
Range & Charging
The Mini Electric has a 29 kWh battery pack (useable capacity). It’s actually the same unit as in the BMW i3.
According to the official WLTP standard, it will go 145 miles before it needs to be recharged.
To reach a more realistic, real-world mileage figure, it’s best to knock off around 18% or so from the WLTP number. That brings the average Mini Electric range down to about 119 miles.
In fact, the range of an EV varies according to multiple factors – read our range page for more details.
Is 119 miles enough?
It depends on how many miles you need to drive per day. If you’re a commuter and your round trip is below about 90 miles, you should be fine even in winter when range is lower.
When you get home, you plug into your dedicated Type 2 AC home charger (assuming you have off-street parking), and your car will be fully charged in the morning.
For long distance trips, or if you can’t charge at home, this Mini Electric car has a rapid charging socket. It comes with CCS which provides DC charging speeds up to a maximum of 50 kW. That will get you from an empty battery to 80% full in about 35 minutes.
Mini Electric Price
There are four trim levels for the Mini Electric, priced as follows:
- Level 1: £26,000
- Level 2: £28,000
- Level 3: £32,000
- Collection: £35,050
All these prices include the government plug-in car grant, where applicable.
What’s pleasantly surprising about Mini’s price structure for the Electric is that no matter what colours or wheels you select, the price of each trim level remains the same. See the Specifications section below for more details.
Is the Mini Electric price competitive? If you rank all the 4-seat EVs currently available by price, this is what you get:
- Smart EQ ForFour: from £17,930
- Skoda CITIGOe iV: from £17,955
- Seat Mii electric: from £20,300
- Volkswagen e-up!: from £21,055
- Mini Electric: from £26,000
- Honda e: from £27,160
- BMW i3: from £31,305
The cars cheaper than the Mini are all pretty basic. Not as classy or feature-rich as the Mini.
The Honda e is more expensive, but is a beauty. On the other hand, the Honda’s range is lower. The BMW i3 is also a lovely car, with better range, but considerably more expensive.
Minis are great fun to drive and own. If you just ‘want’ a Mini, pick your trim level, and get on with it.
How does the cost of the electric Mini compare to a petrol Mini? The most similar petrol 3-door hatchback in terms of performance is the Mini Cooper S. The base model Cooper S Classic – with no extras whatsoever – costs £23,105.
So you can save about £2,900 on the capital cost by sticking to petrol, but you’ll be missing out on the considerably lower running costs of an EV.
Specifications & Trim Levels
The best way to work out which version of the electric Mini you want is to use the online configurator.
At the beginning, you will see there are four trim options, as follows:
- Level 1
- Level 2
- Level 3
As you go through the trim levels, you get more features and generally more variety in terms of colour, tyres, etc.
The Level 1 Mini Electric trim includes:
- 6.5-inch Mini Navigation screen with Apple Car Play, plus Mini ‘Connected’ features, showing e.g. public charger locations and live traffic updates (RTTI)
- A trendy, 5.5-inch, digital instrument cockpit
- Home AC charging capabilities + rapid DC charging with you are out and about
- Cruise control setting
- Dual-zone air-conditioning
- Leather steering wheel
- LED lights: headlights, fog, and rear
- Automatic wipers
- ISOFIX for child seats
You can select one of two exterior colours:
- White Silver
- Moonwalk Grey
Next, you can choose the colour of the roof and wing mirror caps: either Black or White.
In addition, there is the option of having a funky yellow ‘blade’ on the front grill, together with yellow mirror caps. The online Mini configurator helps you through the process.
Then you can decide what type of alloy wheels you want. With Level 1 trim, there are three options:
- 16-inch Electric Revolite Spoke
- 16-inch Loop Spoke
- 17-inch Corona Spoke (two tone)
Interestingly, Mini provide all of the options above free of charge. Normally, manufacturers charge for certain colours, larger alloys, etc. Nice to see Mini keeping costs down for customers.
Over and above the features of Level 1 trim, Level 2 brings you:
- A driving assistant pack with speed limit & traffic sign recognition, city pedestrian avoidance tech, and high beam automation
- Reversing camera
- Heated seats (front)
- Distance control sensors for rear parking
- Partly leather interior
- Armrest, front centre
- Auto-dimming, folding mirrors
Level 2 also gives you the possibility of three further colours:
- Midnight Black
- British Racing Green
- Chili Red (Mini always has a chili up its sleeve)
Again, you can then go on to choose the colour of the wing mirrors and roof. For exterior White Silver, you just have the option of white or black. For all the other exterior colours, you can select either white or black, or the same colour as the exterior itself.
You can also choose to have that yellow blade on the grill plus yellow mirror caps if you go for exterior colour White, Grey or Black. For Green or Red, there is no yellow blade / mirror cap option.
Regarding wheels, Level 2 Mini Electric trim offers the following:
- 16-inch Loop Spoke
- 17-inch Corona Spoke (two tone)
- 17-inch Cosmos Spoke (black)
- 17-inch Tentacle Spoke
Once again, none of these selections will cost you any more money.
This is the top trim level. In addition to the features in Levels 1 and 2, you get:
- ‘Navigation Plus’ which comes with a larger touchscreen
- Front and rear parking sensors, with ‘park assist’ allowing the car to park itself
- A panoramic sun-roof
- Head-up display (HUD)
- Classsy Harman-Kardon speaker set-up
- Full leather interior
- Adaptive headlights (LED)
As well as the five colours of Level 2, you can also have ‘Enigmatic Black’ as an exterior colour.
All the roof / mirror cap colour options are the same as Level 2, except if you select Enigmatic Black, you can then have either Enigmatic Black or White as roof / mirror cap colours. The yellow blade and mirror caps are also possible with Enigmatic Black.
The wheel selection is identical to Level 2 with the addition of 17-inch Roulette Spoke.
To sum up, you’re not limited when it comes to configuring the look of the car.
The Collection trim adds a multi-tone roof, part leatherette interior, a choice of two Collection-only colours, and a piano black exterior.
Who is the Mini Electric for?
The Mini Electric will appeal both to current Mini owners and those that aspire to become Mini owners.
As the world inevitably moves towards electrified transport, this 2021 electric Mini allows you to take part in that journey. You can now drive a Mini and treat the environment well at the same time.
Certainly this Mini is well suited to the town and city. It’s relatively small, easy to park, and the electric powertrain makes it nippy when required.
Pollution regulations are only going to get tighter in cities. It already costs an arm and a leg to drive a fossil fuel vehicle into central London. Soon many built-up areas will ban diesels completely and later on petrol cars, too. A zero emissions Mini Electric, on the other hand, allows you the freedom of the city. No charges, no restrictions.
As the name suggests, the Mini is not a large car. It’s a 4-seater, with 3 doors, and a small boot (211 litres). It’s unlikely to be your main family car.
However, if you’re single, or a married couple without children, the Mini is ideal. In the front seats, the electric Mini is perfect. Plenty of space, great looks, comfortable seats, quirky design, nice digital and sat nav functionality.
If you do need to transport bigger items, just fold down the back seats and you get a decent 731 litres of space. It’s not quite a Tardis, but it is surprising how much stuff you can cram into a 3-door Mini hatch when push comes to shove.
The Mini Electric also makes sense as a non-polluting, second car for your family. Especially if your first car is a big, heavy, 4×4 diesel. If you go down this route, you will probably find yourself not wanting to drive the clunky diesel anymore. Electric cars are addictive.
Part of that addiction comes from regenerative braking or ‘regen’. When you lift your foot off the accelerator of an electric car, the car starts to brake at once. It’s not the brake pads slowing the vehicle down, but rather the electric motor going into reverse and acting as a generator. This charges the battery.
So, slowing down in the Mini = increasing range. It’s also known as ‘one pedal’ driving. Basically, you rarely need to put your foot on the actual brake pedal. Just press or lift off the accelerator to accelerate or slow down. You only need the brake pedal for emergency stops or if the car doesn’t stop quickly enough at traffic lights, etc.
In the front centre console there is a lever controlling how strong the regen effect is. Two levels. Pick the one you feel most at home with.
There is also a lever for the four driving modes: Sport, Mid, Green, and Green+.
Sport mode gives you full access to the 135 kW (184 bhp) electric motor. Acceleration from 0 to 62 mph in 7.3 seconds.
Green mode softens the immediacy of the accelerator pedal. You can still nip round, but the car is not as responsive as when in Sport mode.
Mid – naturally – is somewhere in between Sport and Green.
Green+ is basically an ultra energy saving feature. Put that on when you are very low on charge. It will reduce certain settings on the car, like air-con, to save power and help get you home.
The rule of thumb for the driving modes is: keep it in Green mode if you want maximum range on a single charge. Choose Sport mode if you fancy yourself as a Formula 1 driver, but range will suffer.
As with many EVs, the Mini Electric comes with a smartphone app: Mini Connected. This allows you to:
- Heat or cool the interior remotely
- Start charging your car remotely and check charging status
- Look for rapid DC charging stations
- Check out efficiency stats
It’s also worth mentioning the government grant for EVs won’t be around forever. Carry out a proper search now to select the electric car best for you and then strike while the iron’s hot.
If the electric Mini has piqued your interest, next steps are: