In June this year, MINI Malaysia teased the arrival of the all-electric MINI Cooper SE (or MINI Electric as it is known in certain markets), and we now have an official launch date: August 26, 2020. This information comes from a dedicated page on the company’s official website, where we see a countdown timer set for (at the time of writing) 20 days and some hours, minutes and seconds.
The Cooper SE was one of the models confirmed for entry into Malaysia this year by BMW Group Malaysia back in February, with the G20 BMW 330e plug-in hybrid being the other, although we’ve yet to hear more about the latter. Upon arrival, the MINI electric vehicle will join the BMW i3s in the company’s local EV line-up.
MINI first debuted the Cooper SE in July 2019, which is based on the same UKL platform as the current F56 MINI 3 Door. The EV’s powertrain is adapted from the i3s, but flipped for front-wheel drive rather than rear-wheel drive, which required some repackaging.
This includes the use of a new T-shaped lithium-ion battery pack that takes up the space vacated by the exhaust system. The capacity is rated at 32.6 kWh – a lot less than the i3s we get here (42.2 kWh) – and provides up to 270 km of range based on the WLTP test cycle.
Said battery powers the front-mounted electric motor that outputs 184 PS (181 hp) and 270 Nm of torque, allowing the Cooper SE to get from zero to 60 km/h in 3.9 seconds, or 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds, and hit a top speed of 150 km/h.
For charging, the EV gets an 11-kW onboard AC charger with a Type 2 connection. With a 7.4-kW MINI Electric Wallbox and a single-phase AC outlet, a full charge takes 4.2 hours (or 3.2 hours to 80%), while with a more powerful 11-kW, three-phase wallbox, this is shortened to 3.5 hours (or 2.5 hours to 80%).
If time is of the essence, there’s also DC fast-charging via a CCS Combo 2 connection up to 50 kW, which will get the battery from a zero to 80% state of charge in just 35 minutes, or 1.4 hours for a full charge.
In terms of styling, the Cooper SE looks a lot like a regular 3 Door, save for the several model-specific cues to make it stand out as Earth-friendly. This includes a smaller front grille, yellow accents and MINI Electric badging. The yellow theme is applied to the interior too, with hints of it seen on the steering wheel, gear lever, push start button and infotainment controller.
We’ll get finer details like standard equipment and pricing when the model is launched. Focusing on the latter, the i3s 120 Ah (or 42.2 kWh) in Germany is priced from 41,526 euros (RM206,076) when referring to the local configurator there. By comparison, the Cooper SE starts at 31,680 euros (RM157,216) in the same country, making it more affordable.
While not decisive, we can extrapolate the price comparison in Germany to our local market, where the i3s currently retails at RM268,823.96 until the end of 2020 due to SST exemption, so could the Cooper SE be cheaper than the BMW EV? We’ll have to wait and see.
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