Would You Drive an Electric Mini Cooper for Under $30,000?

can be reached at nkurczewski@yahoo.com
can be reached at nkurczewski@yahoo.com
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The electric-powered Mini Cooper SE will carry a price tag of less than $30,000. This will make the Cooper SE one of the least expensive electric cars when it arrives next year.

  • Mini’s electric-powered hatchback starts at $29,900, plus an $850 destination fee.
  • Despite the fuzzy math when it comes to that “sub-$30,000” starting price, this still makes the Cooper SE one of the least expensive electric cars in the U.S.
  • The Mini Cooper SE arrives in March 2020.

The 2020 Mini Cooper SE hatchback will be one of the most affordable electric vehicles on the market when it arrives early next year. With a starting price of $30,750 including destination, the Cooper SE undercuts rivals like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt. A base Nissan Leaf starts at $30,885 (including destination charge), while the Chevrolet Bolt carries an entry price of $37,495. The Mini’s impressive base price does not take into account existing federal or state tax credits for electric vehicles, which could drop the price significantly for those who qualify.

Despite its all-electric powertrain, the Mini Cooper SE doesn’t veer far from the design of the standard gas-powered models. (Photo: Mini)

Still a Mini

Powering the front-wheel drive Mini Cooper SE is an electric motor that produces a total of 181 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. According to Mini, this is enough to propel the pint-sized coupe from 0-60 mph in only 6.9 seconds. That’s about 0.6 seconds quicker than the standard Mini Cooper, which is powered by a turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engine. And it’s only one second slower than the performance-tuned John Cooper Works model. Top speed of the Cooper SE is 93 mph.

At a glance, you might not spot this Mini as being electrified at all. That’s because the overall design stays close to the perky, city-friendly style and proportions of the gas-powered variants. Due to the placement of the battery pack, Mini says the Cooper SE rides exactly 0.7-inches higher than a standard Mini Cooper. Sharp handling is a hallmark of the Mini brand, so we imagine the Cooper SE has the same dynamic prowess and driving excitement offered in the rest of the range.

The Mini Cooper SE gets up to 168 miles of driving range in European testing, but don’t expect that much in the real world. (Photo: Mini)

How far can it go?

For now, the biggest question mark is the car’s EPA-estimated driving range. It’s an issue that also plagues Mini’s PHEV Countryman. European testing shows the Cooper SE can travel a total of 168 miles on a charge, however EPA tests routinely deliver far lower EV range numbers. An educated guess puts the potential driving range between 120-150 miles. At the very least, recharging won’t take long. Mini estimates the Cooper SE can be charged to 80% in only 35 minutes when using DC fast charging.

The Cooper SE comes standard with a long list of comfort features. These include heated front seats, Apple CarPlay, navigation with a 6.5-inch screen, rain-sensing wipers, leatherette seating surfaces, automatic climate control, and its own unique 16-inch alloy wheels. The Cooper SE also comes standard with a rearview camera, forward collision warning, and an acoustic pedestrian warning.


The Mini Cooper SE has a low entry price and promises lots of style and a fun driving experience. That should be good for getting more people into EVs, unless this chirpy little coupe’s overall driving range falls too far short of the competition.

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can be reached at nkurczewski@yahoo.com
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