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The new MINI Electric: British. Racing. Green.

As the electric car revolution continues, MINI is the latest of the big brands to go high voltage. Graham Courtney gets behind the wheel to see if the future is bright – and green

 

Regardless of how tough lockdown has been, there has been at least one universal improvement to everyone's life: air pollution levels.

As the world slowly returns to normal, I’m doing my bit to keep up the good work – swapping my daily ride for the zero carbon-producing MINI Electric.

Now, if you’ve already decided that an electric car isn’t for you, wait – stick with us, because this might just be the car that finally makes you take the plunge.

Let’s start by stating the utterly obvious: this is a three-door MINI hatchback. But it’s electric.

In other words, you’ve got a car that is already great to drive (every MINI is) and now there’s a version with 100 per cent electric power.

This is a winning formula.

The MINI Electric starts at £24,400 (including government grant). This is around £400 cheaper than the petrol-powered MINI Cooper S.

Why compare it with the Cooper S? Simple, because they have an almost identical 0-60 performance time of 7.3 seconds.

Don’t forget, whereas a conventionally powered car has to build the revs to reach peak power and you need to work the gearbox, electric cars have 100 per cent power instantly and, in effect, only one gear.

The MINI Electric does 0-30mph in around 3 seconds. It’s seriously quick, terrific fun, and incredibly simple to drive.

Hop in, turn it on, select drive, press the throttle and away you go. There are four driving modes: Sport, Mid, Green and Green+. All vary the steering response and the rate in which power is delivered. Green+ mode turns off stuff that drains the power, like air con, for example.

Another switch allows you to alter what is known as regenerative braking. The car charges the battery when you lift your foot off the throttle. It provides a braking force which, once you get used to it, allows you to drive along without using the foot brake.

The MINI Electric does 0-30mph in around 3 seconds. It’s seriously quick, terrific fun, and incredibly simple to drive.

The MINI Electric has a predicted range of 145 miles. This will lower in cold weather. At a fast-charging station an 80% charge is reached from zero in 36 minutes.

The sort of charger you will find at work or can be installed at home, will give you an 80 per cent charge in around three hours.

So, if you have a daily commute of around 20 miles, you can charge the MINI on Sunday night and be fine until you get home on Friday.

If you have access to a charging point at work as well as at home, then you’re laughing. And if you have solar panels on your house roof, you’re quids in.

There are three levels of trim, but every MINI Electric is well equipped with sat nav, cruise control, air con and a host of customising options.

As for how it drives it’s, well, fabulous. Few cars provide so much chuckable fun in this sector. And of course, with the new-found eco-credentials, your smile comes with extra smugness.

If you can adapt to the number of miles per charge, the MINI Electric is one of the best electric cars around.

It’s quick, wonderful to drive, fully loaded with kit – and green. Oh, and it’s built in Britain.

What’s not to love?

For more information, see mini.co.uk

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