MINI Electric review: range, battery & charging
A relatively modest 145-mile range may put some buyers off the MINI Electric, but for a lot of suburban and urban dwellers, that'll be enough
|Range||Battery size||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|140-145 miles||32.6kWh||4hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||28mins (10-80%, 50kW)|
The MINI Electric is only available with a 32.6kWh battery, with a usable capacity of 28.9kWh (every electric car isolates a small percentage of its battery to help maintain battery life). There's no option of a longer-range version and MINI has no plans to add a bigger battery. The next-generation MINI Electric is getting one and will boast a range of nearly 250 miles, but it's not arriving until late 2023.
MINI Electric range
The above means that – depending on wheel size – your MINI Electric will do between 140 and 145 miles on a charge in the best-case scenario. Our drive in the UK suggested you can expect roughly 120 miles in everyday driving, or 100 in colder weather with some faster A-roads thrown in. Motorway stints will see the charge level drop quickly on any electric car, though.
Whichever way you look at it, that’s not particularly competitive with bigger-battery rivals like the Peugeot e-208, Vauxhall Corsa Electric or Renault ZOE. All three will officially do almost 250 miles before needing a top-up, and the Peugeot and Vauxhall both offer faster 100kW rapid charging. The MINI Electric’s short range is more comparable to that of the Honda e city car, which has a maximum range of 137 miles, however, the 42kWh-battery Fiat 500 gets a 199-mile range.
Still, if you have regular access to a charging point, either at work or at home, the MINI’s modest range is enough to comfortably cover most daily commutes. As we found when we lived with the MINI Electric, though, in cold winter weather you'll struggle to cover over 100 miles before needing to recharge. Of course all electric cars' range can be affected by weather, but the MINI lost almost a third of its maximum, which is something to keep in mind before setting off in the later months of the year.
On the surface, the MINI Electric’s charging times appear quite fast. However, that’s partly due to the small battery, which inevitably doesn’t take long to top up from empty. The MINI’s maximum charge rate from a standard charger is 11kW but you need three-phase electrics to benefit from this, which very few domestic properties in the UK have. It's more routinely found at industrial and commercial premises.
Realistically, buyers will be using a 7.4kW wallbox charger at home, and that will fully charge the MINI in under five hours. Plug into a public DC rapid charger and the MINI's peak 50kW charge rate allows for a 10-80% charge in 28 minutes. Things slow dramatically when you hit 80%, though; topping up to full capacity will take another hour.
If you only have access to a standard domestic three-pin plug, a 10-80% charge takes 15 hours – but even that'll be feasible for most drivers if you’re prepared to trickle-charge overnight. MINI includes a charging cable for top-ups at Type 2 stations with every Electric sold, as well as a cable for plugging into three-pin domestic sockets.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe MINI Electric is a fun, fast and chic small electric car, but its relatively modest driving range may put some buyers off
- 2Range, battery & charging - currently readingA relatively modest 145-mile range may put some buyers off the MINI Electric, but for a lot of suburban and urban dwellers, that'll be enough
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe MINI Electric isn't as cheap as it once was, but it should be very affordable to run
- 4Performance, motor & driveThe MINI Electric delivers on the brand's promise of 'go-kart' handling
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortThe MINI Electric has a stylish, premium-feeling cabin - but rivals are starting to offer better tech
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe MINI Electric isn't particularly practical, but the interior and boot are at least the same size as the petrol model's
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThe MINI Electric should be reliable and safe thanks to a suite of safety systems
- 8Living with itDid a short range and limited three-door practicality taint our time with the MINI Electric?