Today BMW unveiled its new electric car, the MINI Cooper SE.
Let’ see some highlights of the press release.
The new MINI Cooper SE: an overview of the highlights.
• First MINI and first small car in the premium segment to run on electrical power only.
• Electric motor with 135 kW/184 hp and 270 Nm.
• Model-specific lithium-ion battery enables range of 235 to 270 kilometres – without constraints in terms of luggage compartment volume.
• Can be charged at a household socket, wallbox or public charging stations, fast direct-current charging possible at up to 50 kW.
• Outstanding agility due to spontaneous power delivery, low centre of gravity, front-wheel drive and wheel slip limiting close to the actuator.
• Acceleration from zero to 60 km/h in 3.9 seconds and from zero to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds.
• Characteristic design of the MINI 3 Door with model-specific accentuations.
• Model-specific display and control elements in the interior.
• Recuperation can be configured at two levels for individual one-pedal feeling.
• Standard equipment features include LED headlamps, 2-zone automatic air conditioning, heating with heat pump technology, auxiliary heating, electric parking brake and Connected Navigation.
Vehicle concept: a genuine MINI to the core.
The new MINI Cooper SE is the first model to combine electromobility in an urban setting with the hallmark brand properties of the original in the premium segment of small cars. The first ever purely electric model of the British brand is a genuine MINI to the core. Its vehicle concept is based on the MINI 3 Door. The dimensions, design, space and interior ambience of the new MINI Cooper SE are clearly based on the conventionally powered vehicle, the development of which already took account of the expansion of the model range to include a electrically powered version.
The new MINI Cooper SE is produced in the brand’s home country. It comes off the production line at the MINI plant in Oxford along with the conventionally powered versions of the model. Its drive technology comes from the BMW Group competence centres for electromobility in Dingolfing and Landshut.
Instead of a petrol or diesel engine, there is an electric motor under the bonnet of the new MINI Cooper SE. The compact unit with integrated power electronics and transmission is positioned in the front section of the support frame by means of a solid tube structure. The high-voltage battery with model-specific configuration is made up of lithium-ions cells subdivided into 12 modules. They form a T-shaped unit positioned in the vehicle floor, providing a gross energy content of 32.6 kWh.
The electric motor is not just smaller but also significantly lighter than a combustion engine, thereby contributing to the outstandingly harmonious axle load distribution of the new MINI Cooper SE. Along with the lower centre of gravity, this gives the electrically powered model agile handling, making it supreme and easy to control even when cornering at high speed. The new MINI Cooper SE also offers extremely secure road-holding, not least due to the position of its high-voltage battery. It is placed deep in the vehicle floor between the front seats and below the rear seats. As a result of this arrangement there are no limits whatsoever to the use of the luggage compartment space as compared to the conventionally powered model versions. As in the MINI 3 Door with combustion engine, the luggage volume under the tailgate is 211 litres, expanding to 731 litres when the rear backrests are folded down. The only measurable difference: in order to ensure the relevant ground clearance for the high-voltage battery installed in the vehicle floor, the body of the new MINI Cooper SE is positioned some 18 millimetres higher than in the conventionally powered model.
All components of the electric drive are protected by means of model-specific structural features and immediately switched off in the event of a collision. The safety concept for the new MINI Cooper SE is thus in line with the high standards of the BMW Group, which go well beyond legal requirements. The power electronics are shielded by the reinforced bumper support and the motor support frame, while the high-voltage battery is protected by a solid base plate. With an unladen DIN weight of 1.365 kilograms, the electric model is only some 145 kilograms heavier than the MINI Cooper S 3 Door with Steptronic transmission.
Characteristic MINI design with model-specific accentuations.
Selective modifications and discreet differentiations regarding the conventionally powered model are also characteristic of the design of the new MINI Cooper SE. Powerful proportions, the typical three-part structure consisting of the body frame, all-round greenhouse and roof, short overhangs and widely set wheels are again the characteristic features that set the first purely electrically powered MINI apart from the masses. Precisely applied accentuations indicate its future-oriented drive system. The charge connection is located above the right-hand rear wheel – exactly where the fuel filler neck is positioned on the conventionally powered MINI 3 Door. An embossed MINI Electric logo marks the difference in terms of energy input. Yellow versions of this signet appear on the lateral turn indicator inserts, known as side scuttles, as well as on the tailgate and front radiator grill. The central element of the MINI Cooper SE front section also features the hallmark hexagonal contour, but this is closed because the electric motor requires very little cooling air. A yellow decorative bar on the grill and exterior mirror caps are finished in the same colour, thereby rounding off the model-specific design features. The MINI Cooper SE is fitted as standard with LED headlamps.
Like the model-specific front radiator grill, the largely closed undercarriage and the distinctively designed rear apron contribute to reducing aerodynamic drag. The fact that the electrically powered MINI does not require an exhaust system likewise facilitates air ducting in the undercarriage and at the rear. An aerodynamically optimised surface is also to be found on the optional 17-inch light alloy wheels with asymmetrical design in the MINI Electric Corona Spoke 2-tone version. Like the standard 16-inch light alloy wheels in MINI Electric Revolite Spoke design, the latter are available exclusively for the new MINI Cooper SE.
Pure driving fun: electric motor with 135 kW/184 hp.
Spontaneously initiated drive torque and continuous power delivery not interrupted by gear shifts – these are the characteristic features of the drive technology fitted in the new MINI Cooper SE. They ensure hallmark MINI driving fun in a novel form that offers a particularly intense experience. The power source is the latest, highly powerful version of the synchronous electric motor developed by the BMW Group. The specific design principle of the drive enables a high level of power delivery that extends into high engine speed ranges, an exceptionally high level of efficiency and smooth, low-vibration running. The motor of the new MINI Cooper SE mobilises a maximum output of 135 kW/184 hp. Its maximum torque of 270 Nm is already available from standstill, as is characteristic of electric motors. Power transmission to the front wheels is by means of a transmission with single-stage configuration and integrated differential.
As a result, the new MINI Cooper SE develops thrilling forward propulsion at every movement of the accelerator pedal, ensuring an exceptionally spirited driving experience in urban traffic in particular. The new MINI Cooper SE accelerates from standing to 60 km/h in just 3.9 seconds. Over the first 60 metres it effortlessly keeps pace with conventionally powered sports cars. The purely electrically powered MINI accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds; its top speed is limited to 150 km/h.
The new MINI Cooper SE develops its sporty flair not only with striking spontaneity but also virtually noiselessly. For this reason it is fitted as standard with acoustic pedestrian protection. A distinctive sound created especially for the MINI Cooper SE is generated via a speaker system. The sound design in the low speed range guarantees an acoustic presence on the road that is typical of MINI.
Thrilling agility thanks to innovative driving dynamics system.
Electric drive takes the typical MINI concept of go-kart feeling into an entirely new and fascinating dimension. The enthralling agile handling of the new MINI Cooper SE is supported by suspension technology that has been refined and harmonised on a model-specific basis. In conjunction with purely electric drive too, the tried-and-tested design principle of the suspension – with single-joint spring strut at the front, a multilink rear axle that is unique within the competitive field and electromechanical steering – guarantees maximum ride stability, steering precision and spontaneity when changing direction. With a centre of gravity that is at least 30 millimetres lower than in the MINI Cooper S, optimum weight distribution helps the new MINI Cooper SE achieve a level of cornering dynamics that is unique within the small car segment.
In order to ensure that the high level of torque supplied by the electric motor immediately on set-off can be put to use for hallmark brand riding fun without loss of traction, the new MINI Cooper SE has an innovative DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system. This drive slip control system, designed specifically for the spontaneous power delivery provided by electric motors, makes for particularly supreme driving qualities in all road and weather conditions. The so-called wheel-slip limiting close to the actuator means that control operations are calculated directly inside the drive system rather than in a distant control unit with long signal pathways, as is the case in conventional driving stability systems. This perceptibly optimises both set-off traction and driving stability in brake energy recovery mode, as well as when accelerating out of tight bends.
MINI Driving Modes with four settings.
The first purely electrically powered MINI also enables the driver to adapt the vehicle setting to the current situation on the road as well as to their own personal preferences. The MINI Driving Modes are selected by means of a switch located on the right-hand side of the toggle bar. There are four modes to choose from in the MINI Cooper SE. Sport mode differs from the standard MID setting, with a more direct characteristic steering curve and a particularly spontaneous response of the drive system.
The comfort-oriented steering characteristics of the MID setting are also active in GREEN mode, as well as in the new GREEN+ mode specially configured for the new MINI Cooper SE. What is more, the drive system in these two latter modes is geared towards maximum efficiency. In GREEN+ mode, additionally selected comfort functions such as heating, air conditioning and seat heating are limited or deactivated in order to increase the range of the vehicle.
Brake energy recovery for configuration at two levels.
Part of the characteristic driving experience in an electrically powered BMW Group model is the so-called one-pedal feeling. In urban traffic in particular, the vehicle perceptibly decelerates as soon as the driver removes their foot from the accelerator. This effect occurs because in coasting mode the electric motor performs the function of a generator, transforming kinetic energy back into electric power, which is in turn fed back into the high-voltage battery. The result of this is that the electrically powered vehicle can be appropriately decelerated at low speeds without using the brake system and can therefore be driven using a single pedal. The extent to which brake energy is recovered and the vehicle is decelerated during coasting phases can be determined via the motor control programming system.
The new MINI Cooper SE is the first electrically powered BMW Group model in which the driver can influence the degree of recuperation efficiency. A toggle switch positioned to the left of the start/stop unit provides the choice of intense or only low-level recuperation with the relevant deceleration impact – regardless of the MINI Driving Modes. In this way, the deceleration response on load reversal can be precisely adapted to the driver’s personal driving style when adopting a dynamic driving style, for example. Depending on individual preferences, it is possible to make use of the momentum available on entering a bend or else bring about a more intense braking effect. In order to ensure maximum efficiency in the MINI Cooper SE, the high level of recuperation is automatically included in the standard setting every time the motor is started.
Model-specific cockpit with digital instrument panel.
The new MINI Cooper SE is fitted as standard with a model-specific instrument cluster consisting of a 5.5-inch colour screen in Black Panel design behind the steering wheel. At the centre of this fully digital screen, the road speed is shown in figures with a peripheral scale band. The speed band is also displayed in the light ring of the central instrument – in red (SPORT mode), white (MID) or green (GREEN and GREEN+), according to the mode selected.
Other digital displays in the instrument cluster provide information on the charge level of the high-voltage battery, the currently selected MINI Driving Mode, the status of the driver assistance systems and Check Control messages. In addition, details of the range available, current drive power, outside temperature, time and mileage are displayed, along with traffic sign detection reports and high-guiding directions from the navigation system. What is more, it is possible to access telephone contact and audio programme lists.
During charging, the digital instrument panel likewise supplies important information. If the vehicle is connected to a power socket or charging station, it is possible to read not just the time and outside temperature but also the available range and the charge status in per cent. The time is also displayed at which the high-voltage battery will be fully charged. The colour of the panel changes depending on the situation: from orange during initialisation to yellow in the course of the charging process, and green when the energy reserves are fully refreshed. Any charging error is indicated by means of red colouring.
Other special interior features include the model-specific gear selector lever on the centre console. The new MINI Cooper SE is also fitted with an electric parking brake that is activated and triggered by means of a switch on the centre console.
MINI ELECTRIC provides flexibility when charging.
The energy for electrifying driving fun is drawn by the new MINI Cooper SE from the power grid, to which it can be connected via a conventional household power socket, the MINI ELECTRIC Wallbox or a public charging station. Its charging connection is designed for AC and DC charging using Type 2 and CCS Combo 2 plugs. Above the connection, a charge level indicator displays orange signals for initialisation, pulsating yellow light for an ongoing charging operation, and green light for a fully charged battery.
The standard charging cable is available for connection to a household socket. A MINI ELECTRIC Wallbox is optionally available for home charging as well as a three-phase cable for use at public charging stations. Both options allow the high-voltage battery of the new MINI Cooper SE to be charged with a maximum capacity of 11 kW – to 80 percent in two and a half hours, and 100 percent in three and a half hours. A DC fast-charging station allows the vehicle’s energy reserves to be refreshed even more quickly. The charging unit of the new MINI Cooper SE is designed for a maximum charging capacity of 50 kW, allowing an 80 per cent charge to be achieved in just 35 minutes.
An installation service is also offered in conjunction with the MINI ELECTRIC Wallbox. The wallbox can be mounted in garages as well as in covered car ports. The ChargeNow service is available for maximum charging convenience: this gives customers access to the world’s biggest network of public charging stations. Registration at the charging station and payment of the electric current used is via the ChargeNow card or the relevant smartphone app.
2-zone automatic air conditioning with heat pump technology and auxiliary heating.
The standard trim of the new MINI Cooper SE includes a 2-zone automatic air conditioning system with separate ventilation and temperature control for the driver and front passenger sides. The interior is heated by means of a heat pump which collects waste heat from the motor, drive control, high-voltage battery and outside air before feeding it into the air conditioning system. The heat pump developed for the new MINI Cooper SE is particularly efficient. It uses 75 per cent less energy than a conventional electric heating system and provides a high level of climate comfort in winter mode. In order to increase range, the cooling and heating circuits are directly linked to the drive technology, forming a highly efficient overall system. An integrated control system guarantees a pleasant interior temperature and an ideal operating temperature for the high-voltage battery at the same time – independently of each other, by means of cooling and heating.
The automatic air conditioning of the new MINI Cooper SE also offers an auxiliary heating and a stationary air conditioning function. This enables the interior to be heated up or cooled down to a specified temperature before setting off. The driver can use the MINI Connected Remote App to set the intended time of departure so as to pre-condition the interior in advance as required.
Navigation system as standard, model-specific MINI Connected Services.
The standard programme of equipment in the new MINI Cooper SE also includes a navigation system as well as central instrument display items and MINI Connected services that are specially geared towards electromobility. The eDrive screen provides information on the current flow of energy and the range as well as offering ways of increasing the vehicle range by deactivating comfort functions or boosting recuperation. On the navigation map it is possible to display a range circle that indicates the action radius of the MINI Cooper SE depending on charge level. When the route guidance starts, it displays the fastest and shortest route and also suggests a GREEN route involving the lowest level of power consumption.
The standard Connected Navigation includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen in the central instrument. This allows the service Real Time Traffic Information to be used, as well as the internet platform MINI Online and the Apple CarPlay preparation. The mobile phone connection also means that the vehicle’s navigation map is updated automatically. Remote Services allow the driver to display details of battery charge status and range on a smartphone via the MINI Connected App, and it is also possible to generate statistics on the car’s energy consumption. In addition there is a map view which shows public charging stations in the vicinity of the vehicle. Meanwhile, not only can the headlight flasher, horn, ventilation and door lock/unlock function be remotely activated, but so can the interior pre-conditioning function. When the vehicle is connected to the power grid, the driver can also control the charging process via Remote Services. The optional equipment item Connected Navigation Plus also includes an 8.8-inch colour screen and the function Telephony with Wireless Charging.
High-end standard equipment, selective customisation.
As a supplement to the extensive and high-quality range of standard equipment, four exterior and interior packages are available for the new MINI Cooper SE which each include a specific combination of exterior finish, light alloy wheels, seat upholstery and interior fittings. In the same way as the packages Salt, Pepper and Chili available for the current MINI models, these enable selective vehicle customisation which can be effortlessly applied by the customer. The equipment packages Trim S and Trim M include Connected Navigation, while Connected Navigation Plus forms part of the packages Trim L and Trim XL. The equipment package Trim S also offers a choice between the body finishes Moonwalk Grey metallic and White Silver metallic, while in conjunction with the packages Trim M and Trim L there is additionally a choice of the colours Chili Red, British Racing Green metallic and Midnight Black metallic. What is more, the paint finish MINI Yours Enigmatic Black is additionally available for the package Trim XL.
The exterior mirror caps of the new MINI Cooper SE are finished as standard in Vigorous Grey and optionally in yellow, as is the horizontal decorative bar on the front radiator grill. Regardless of the equipment package selected, all exterior finishes can also be combined with a roof and exterior mirror caps in body finish (not available in conjunction with the body colour White Silver metallic), or else in black or white. Depending on the selected equipment package, there is a choice of light alloy wheels in the sizes 16 and 17 inches in up to five different variants.
In the interior, the new MINI Cooper SE comes as standard with seats in Double Stripe Carbon Black fabric. These form part of the package Trim S. The packages Trim M and Trim L include seats in the fabric/leather combination Black Pearl and Cross Punch Carbon Black leather. The seat variant MINI Yours Lounge Carbon Black leather is included in the package Trim XL. The four optionally available interior fittings for the MINI Cooper SE provide a perfectly harmonised combination of interior surfaces, Colour Lines, roof liner colour, steering wheel and floor mats. The Interior Style MINI Dark highlights the sporty side of the new model while the Interior Style MINI light emphasises its elegant characteristics. The Interior Style MINI Electric features yellow seams and a MINI Electric logo on the floor mats as well as specific surfaces, thereby adding a particular accentuation that stresses sustainable mobility. Meanwhile, the Interior Style MINI Yours features the outstanding material and finish quality of the interior surface MINI Yours Piano Black illuminated and the MINI Yours sports steering wheel.
Summing up, with its WLTP range of 235 km (146 miles), 32,6 kWh battery and DC fast charging rate limited to 50 kW the new MINI Cooper SE was designed to be a premium electric city car, just like the BMW i3. The 11 kW on-board charger, heat pump and fast acceleration are good selling points for this electric car.
While I don’t think that every electric car needs to carry around a big battery, it’s a bit shameful that the affordable VW electric triplets will have more range than the electric MINI. Rather than use the BMW i3’s Samsung SDI cells, the electric MINI will get battery cells from CATL.
It’s appalling that BMW only focus on premium electric city cars. We’re still waiting for BMW to actually produce an alternative to Tesla’s electric cars capable of enjoying Germany’s famous Autobahn network.
Anyway, in Germany, the new MINI Cooper SE is advertised with a starting price of 32.500 euros and “production of the MINI Electric starts in Oxford in November 2019. The first vehicles will then be delivered as early as possible”.