Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Although official figures suggest the Mini Electric is capable of up to 145 miles on a full charge (this varies slightly depending on which alloy wheels you go for), you’ll have to drive very gently and avoid motorways to coax it anywhere near that far. You’ll also need to hope for warm weather; the battery range of electric cars is significantly reduced in cooler temperatures.
We haven’t put the Mini through our scientific Real Range tests yet, but we've struggled to get close to 100 miles in the real world. True, that’s farther than you’ll manage in the pricier Honda E, but the real-world range of the similarly priced Renault Zoe is close to 192 miles, and the Peugeot e-208’s is at around 140 miles.
Charging the battery from empty using a normal 7kW home wall box takes 4hrs 12min, and a 0-80% top-up can be grabbed in just 36 minutes from a 50kW public CCS charger. Alternatively, if you get caught out and can’t make it to a proper electric car charging point, you can also plug in to a regular three-pin domestic socket – although a 0-80% charge will take a lengthy 12 hours.
As we’ve already mentioned, the Mini is cheaper to buy than the Honda E and is priced roughly in line with the Renault Zoe. However, it's predicted to hold onto its value better than both of those cars, making it a relatively sound investment in the long-term – especially when you factor in the free road tax and low running costs that electric motoring brings.
If you’re a company car driver, the Mini Electric makes even more sense because, between April 2020 and April 2021, you won’t be paying any benefit in kind (BIK) tax to run one. Even after that time the proportion of your salary you’ll have to sacrifice compared with an equivalent petrol or diesel car will be tiny.
There are three rather formally named trim levels to choose from: Level 1, 2 and 3. Although Level 1 gets you climate control, cruise control, automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers, we’d recommend upgrading to the next level because this gives you keyless entry, power-folding door mirrors, heated front seats and, most importantly of all, automatic emergency braking (AEB) – a safety system that we regard as vital.
Meanwhile, Level 3 adds a panoramic sunroof, leather seats and the various infotainment upgrades that we’ve already discussed. It also gives you an upgraded sound system and a self-parking feature.
In typical Mini style, there are plenty of customisation combinations; you can choose from a range of wheel styles, exterior paint colours, roof colours, mirror caps and upholstery finishes within the price of each trim level. Parting with Mini tradition, though, there are no extra-cost optional extras available.
Good to drive but future cheaper editions look...
Pleasant driving manners and a practical interior ma...