MINI decided the best way to prove the new MINI Electric wasn’t just an urban EV was to drive it from Munich to Frankfurt with a single recharge on the way.
The MINI Electric was revealed in July – although it’s the MINI Cooper SE outside the UK – as MINI finally returned to electric power a decade after it first started to play.
Just as Honda has done with the Honda E, MINI has decided, entirely logically, that there is no point putting a thumping great, very expensive, battery pack in a car which will mainly be used in an urban environment, so the MINI Electric comes with a modest 32.6kWh battery, good for around a 130-mile range.
The trouble is, as car makers try to convince car buyers that EVs are the way to go, logic isn’t really important; what is important is assuaging potential owners’ concerns about range and being left stranded with a flat battery, even if they’re highly unlikely to do more than 50 miles a day.
Despite the underlying logic of a smaller battery in the MINI Electric, MINI does seem to realise that although it’s logical, and cheaper, to go the modest range route, potential buyers need to be reassured that the MINI is capable of doing much longer distances with very little pain.
So, for the electric MINI’s Frankfurt public debut, MINI decided they’d drive it from Munich to Frankfurt – a distance of roughly 250 miles – to show it could do more than blat around a city landscape.
It took one stop of 35 minutes for an 80 per cent recharge from a fast charger (well, a 50kW charger) to get the MINI to Frankfurt, ‘proving’ the MINI EV is more than capable of venturing outside urban environments with no problem.
But the problem is, car buyers are still not convinced that a modest range, with regular top-ups of charge, is convenient – however rarely they do longer drives – and nor are they convinced that the planned stops for charging will be at a charger guaranteed to work. Working chargers are far from a given at the moment.
Still, with orders for the electric MINI of more than 45,000 already, some are convinced. Or were those orders placed before the range was revealed?