If you’re worried that increasingly stringent emissions laws could spell the end of the hot hatch, you may be encouraged to see this electric-powered MINI E that could give a petrol Cooper a run for its money.
The MINI E uses lithium-ion batteries to power an electric engine that generates an impressive 201bhp and 162lb.ft of torque. Acceleration is strong with 0-62mph taking just 8.5 seconds, although the top speed is less impressive – an electronically limited 95mph. BMW promises that the electric MINI will be just as good to drive as the petrol equivalent, despite the batteries adding a considerable 330kg to the weight of the car.
Plugging the car into the mains for eight hours gives the MINI E a range of 150 miles, although BMW are hoping to provide a charging station that could be fitted into owners’ homes and recharge the car in just two and a half hours. To maximise efficiency and improve range the MINI E uses regenerative braking to recharge the batteries, while the air-conditioning and alternator will only work when needed.
It’s still early days for the MINI E, with the first batch of 500 cars being leased to pre-selected customers in the States as part of a ‘pilot project’. Assuming things go well with the trials we can expect to see them being rolled out elsewhere.