MINI has introduced the new MINI Cooper SE electric vehicle. The power delivery of its 135 kW/(181 hp US) motor, the brand-specific front-wheel drive, and the innovative driving dynamics system with wheel slip limiting close to the actuator all contribute to a go-kart feeling. The model-specific lithium-ion battery enables a range of 235 to 270 kilometers (146 to 168 miles). (US EPA estimated range figures not available.)
The new MINI Cooper SE is produced at the MINI plant in Oxford, UK along with the conventionally powered versions of the model. Its drive technology comes from the BMW Group competence centers for electromobility in Dingolfing and Landshut.
The compact drive 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 power source is the latest 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 mobilizes a maximum output of 135 kW/181 hp (US), with maximum torque of 199 ft-lb (270 N·m). The power transmission to the front wheels is by means of a transmission with single-stage configuration and integrated differential. The new MINI Cooper SE accelerates from standing to 37 mph in 3.9 seconds. The electric MINI accelerates from zero to 62 mph in 7.3 seconds; its top speed is limited to 93.2 mph.
The electric motor is not just smaller but also significantly lighter than a combustion engine, thereby contributing to the well balanced axle load distribution of the new MINI Cooper SE. Along with the lower center of gravity, this gives the electrically powered model agile handling.
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 is no reduction in luggage compartment space as compared to the conventionally powered model versions.
As in the MINI 2 door hardtop with combustion engine, the luggage volume under the tailgate is 211 liters, expanding to 731 liters 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 millimeters 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 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 3,009 lbs (1,365 kg), the electric model is only some 319 pounds heavier than the MINI Cooper S 2 door hardtop with Steptronic transmission.
Suspension. The agile handling of the new MINI Cooper SE is supported by suspension technology that has been refined and harmonized 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 center of gravity that is at least 30 millimeters 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 was designed specifically for the spontaneous power delivery provided by electric motors. 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 optimizes 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. There are four modes to choose from in the MINI Cooper SE, selected by means of a switch located on the right-hand side of the toggle bar. 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.
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.
Air conditioning and heat pump. All trim levels 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% 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.
The new MINI Cooper SE is available in the US with three distinct trim levels: Signature, Signature Plus, and Iconic, which each include a specific combination of exterior finish, light alloy wheels, seat upholstery and interior fittings. Along with this, the new MINI Cooper SE features options and equipment including Connected Navigation, or Connected Navigation Plus depending on the trim level.