MINI Cooper SE road tests

Discussion in 'MINI SE Electric' started by insightman, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    Tom Moloughny took the time to produce his usual thorough report. which is now up on Inside EVs. Tom was one of the 450 people privileged to lease the MINI E a decade ago, and he wrote a lot about that car back then.

    Tom figured out why MINI held their International Press Introduction event in Miami where the roads are flat, the traffic is slow, and where the winter temperatures are moderate. Those conditions are ideal for producing the maximum EV range and range is what most journalists are focusing on with the MINI Cooper SE.

    > So while we may have observed an estimated range of 140 miles, that
    > probably won't be what most owners see, unless they live in warm areas
    > like Southern Florida or Southern California.

    Tom echoes other journalists who say the MINI Cooper SE's acceleration tapers off at speeds over 50 mph. However, he's very impressed with the car's acceleration up to 40 mph, which is all an urban street fighter (my words) really needs:

    > The Cooper SE really shines in the 0-40 mph game, but once you get
    > over 50 mph the power fades considerably, more so than it seemed
    > my BMW i3s did, and that's surprising because as mentioned, they
    > share the same motor.

    Being an expert on EVSEs for plug-in cars, Tom is the only journalist who took the time to describe the 120-Volt/240-Volt Webasto Turbocord that comes with the MINI Cooper SE for owners to charge their cars. Because the Turbocord can deliver only 3.8 kW on 240 Volts, it will likely be used only away from home because MINI Cooper SE owners will want a full-blown 240-Volt, 32-Amp EVSE to charge their cars in 4 hours or less. Tom writes that such an EVSE can fully charge the MINI in 3.5 hours.

    The only one of Tom's opinions with which I disagree is his desire for a larger battery.

    > Not every EV has to have 300 miles, but the Cooper SE would benefit
    > from a slightly bigger battery in my opinion.

    I believe MINI should dominate the lightweight, compact, sporty BEV niche. Bigger batteries would slow the car down and impair the MINI's characteristic cornering abilities. When batteries improve, I hope MINI keeps the 110-mile range and adds lightness, as Colin Chapman famously advised.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
  2. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    The Drive has now posted their impressions from the International Press Introduction in Miami. In his "Quick Take," the reviewer suggests it's premature to choose this electric MINI because a better one is coming.

    > The Cooper SE at last delivers the delights of electric driving
    > in an attractive Mini package, but unless you were holding out
    > specifically for an electric Mini, you're better off waiting for the
    > next one or shopping elsewhere.

    Even though the MINI Cooper SE is based on the MINI platform introduced in 2014, the reviewer thinks this electric MINI has not changed much from the 2009 MINI E. He doesn't notice there are rear seats in this newer electric MINI until later in his review.

    > The 2020 Mini Cooper SE so closely resembles the experimental
    > 2009 Mini E that parallels must be ignored consciously.

    The reviewer appreciates that MINI decided to forego using low rolling resistance tires to extend the car's range in favor of better handling.

    > Though the SE has extra bulk to carry around, it still skates around
    > with the sure-footed, go-kart confidence of its fossil-fueled sister
    > model, if not more so. Crank the steering wheel and it'll push back
    > against your palms with assuring weight, and you can feel the SE's
    > suspension shift around with the aid of higher-performance Goodyear
    > Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 summer tires. These sacrifice low rolling
    > resistance for extra grip, but allow handling as precise as the SE's
    > instant throttle response.

    Although the reviewer likes this MINI's handling, he's not a fan of the car's deceleration options:

    > Coming off the throttle, regenerative braking engagement is a
    > little too abrupt as well. The system offers two modes, neither
    > of which try for the one-pedal driving that other EVs revel in,
    > but even the stronger setting doesn't follow that quick initial
    > bite with real significant stopping power. You'll find yourself
    > using the regular friction brakes far more than you would in a
    > Nissan Leaf Plus, for example. That would be fine were those
    > pads and calipers set up to be a little less twitchy, but as such,
    > driving a Mini SE smoothly requires an inordinate amount of focus.

    Should the LCD instrument display be a touch screen? The reviewer thinks so. It seems to me the steering wheel would make operating a touch-screen behind it awkward, if not dangerous.

    > Most every car these days comes with a digital gauge cluster, and
    > the 2020 Mini SE is no exception, though its 5.5-inch, tablet-like
    > setup looks like it's begging for some touchscreen functionality
    > whose absence will announce itself with the first involuntary jab of
    > your finger.

    He also isn't a fan of the user interface on the MINI's center screen (which is a touch screen only with the top Iconic trim level).

    > Sliding to the right (or left, if you're British), the central infotainment
    > screen's Mini Connected system remains an unsophisticated piece of
    > kit with questionable interface design.

    The reviewer says using a Fast Charge DC charger doesn't do much to ameliorate the MINI Cooper SE's 110-mile range.

    > Even then, the SE is a little out of its depth, as DC fast-chargint from
    > empty to 80 percent takes 35 minutes on [the car's] maximum input
    > wattage of 50 kW, and more than twice as long for 100 percent
    > [84 minutes other reviewers report]. You're better off topping up at
    > home every night with a wallbox charger, which takes 4.2 hours to
    > charge to full at 7.4 kW or
    > 3.5 hours at 11 kW.

    I should note that I purchased an 11 kW EVSE in anticipation of getting my MINI Cooper SE, but the 11 kW charging won't work with a single-phase EVSE. The British EVSE that can pump 11 kW into the MINI Electric requires 3-phase electric power, not something any US households I know of can provide. I have yet to learn if the MINI Cooper SE cars coming to the US have the correct connector for a 3-phase, 11 kW wallbox.

    The reviewer doesn't tell readers not to buy this car, but hopes a better third take is on the horizon.

    > Whether the Cooper SE is the car for you comes down to whether
    > 110 miles sounds like a handicap to you. If it doesn't, and the
    > Cooper SE's round, LED-studded eyes make you want to pinch its
    > fenders, then give it a whirl. Personally, I'm holding out for Mini's
    > next try at an electric vehicle. This first (real) shot landed close
    > enough to give me high hopes for an on-target follow-up.

    The reviewer will likely have to hold out for a long while before MINI's next try at an electric vehicle shows up. A recent Reuters article says that MINI is delaying the introduction of its next platform due to concerns about Brexit and the need to conserve R&D dollars. Although it would not be surprising to see MINI upgrade the batteries in this car when upgraded batteries become available, this MINI Cooper SE is likely to persist for a few more years.
     
  3. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    Top Gear has released their standard multi-topic review. Following the opening Overview section, their topics include Driving, On the Inside, Owning, and Our Verdict. They wish it wasn't heavier than a gas-powered Cooper S, but say they'll get over it because the fore-aft weight balance is better than a gas-powered MINI and because:

    > It’ll do 0-31 mph in 3.9 seconds, which is plenty rapid enough for urban combat.

    On the Inside, Top Gear considers the MINI's interior to be dated, but they're happy the battery doesn't intrude into the cabin (they don't mention the rear seat is slightly higher than in a non-electric MINI Hard Top). They like the instrument screen. Of the infotainment system they report:

    > the screen itself is a joy to use.

    Being British, in the Owning section, Top Gear ignores the 110-mile EPA range rating and goes with the WLTP range estimates of 124-144 miles. In fact, they suggest they might even be able to stretch that to 150 miles. Then they discuss the British prices and options for the "MINI Electric," as the car is called in the UK. In the Our Verdict section they write:

    > BMW could have given it more range. But, that would have made it heavier,
    > more expensive, taken longer to charge, and invade cabin space."

    They like the car (and why not, it's "accelerative"):

    > The Mini Electric is a very complete little EV. It preserves pretty much
    > everything we like about a standard Mini Cooper S, but it’s more
    > accelerative where it matters, and has zero local emissions. It proves
    > that the hot hatch will have a future as an EV.
     
  4. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    Dubai's Auto Freak presents a translated report. Here's how it starts out:

    > Smaller than usual has eventually taken advantage of the
    > electric vehicle to advertise with the new Cooper SE.
    >
    > The zero-outflow model depends on an identical stage
    > because the ICE-controlled sub-smaller and includes a few
    > of out of doors updates – or not because the higher a part
    > of those are alternatives. The insurgency occurs underneath
    > the skin, as force originates from an electrical engine
    > producing 181 HP (184 PS HP/135 kW) and 199 lb-ft
    > (270 Nm) of moment torque.
    >
    > It takes its juice from a 32.6 kWh battery that supports DC
    > quick charging, flaunting a 0-80 percent reviving time of just
    > 35 minutes. Energizing its reception takes 4 hours, and once
    > it’s topped off, you will have the choice to travel for around
    > 146-167 miles (235-270 km).
    >
    > Contingent upon what you’re checking out in an electric vehicle,
    > the small range might not be a severe issue. It’s all that would
    > possibly be needed for the day by day drive, and therefore, the
    > moment torque gave by the engine merits each penny.
    > Discussing pennies, the MSRP is $29,900, barring the $850 goal
    > and taking care of the charge. Mind you, with the govt charge
    > credits and EV charge; you’ll pay as low as $17,900 for one –
    > generally the value of a mid-spec Passage Celebration.
     
  5. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    Top Gear's Six Things We Learned About the Mini Electric compares the SE's handling to a Tesla Model S (but why not the smaller, more nimble, Model 3?).

    > 3. IT STILL DRIVES LIKE A PROPER MINI
    >
    > Feels heavier, sure – 145 kg heavier, than a Cooper S
    > Auto powered by petrol – but the steering is still meaty
    > and alert and the car corners keenly. You wouldn’t rush
    > to a track day in it, but the combination of quick-witted
    > acceleration and game-enough handling actually makes
    > this a more rounded EV than a dragster-fast but
    > ungainly-around-corners Tesla Model S. Yeah, I said it.
    > Come at me, internet.
     
  6. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    A non-journalist in Toronto was turned loose at night in a MINI Cooper SE and posted his enlightening 20-minute drive on YouTube. He's driving the Premier trim-level, which is the mid-level trim in Canada. Because he's driving on winter tires, he cannot accurately assess how the car would handle on softer rubber.

    He shows the shifter in action--he tells us it can skip neutral as you go from reverse to drive. Sometimes you can see the instrument-panel power gauge when he accelerates. I didn't realize until watching this review that the power-usage gauge needle is mechanical, not electronic like the rest of the instrument panel display.

    He seems surprised by the high level of regen braking but then he admits he's comparing it to an electric Focus. I was left a bit unclear about whether the car creeps forward after it brings itself to a stop using regen braking. I wonder, if the car does keep itself stationary at the end of a regen-braking stop, does it use battery power to hold itself stationary?

    He was very impressed with the SE's LED headlights--especially compared with the F-56 he drove earlier in the evening. He's not as enthusiastic about the Center Information Display screen, wishing for the larger 8.8" screen.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020 at 12:06 AM
  7. DucRider

    DucRider Active Member

    I know you mentioned the added weight several times. Very possible it is due to modifications of the bumpers to pass US standards (low speed crash?). I remember reading somewhere that affected a couple of other vehicles.
     
  8. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    In the comments section following Tom Moloughney's excellent report from the Miami Press Introduction event, I asked why he was quoting the 3,009-lb weight MINI provided at the July unveiling rather than the 3,153-lb weight quoted in other reports from the Miami event. Tom replied:

    > Both figures are correct as MINI gave us both weights. In the US we use
    > "DIN" weight, and that's 3,009 lbs. In Europe, they use "EU kerb" weight,
    > which is 75 kg more than the DIN weight, which accounts for a driver and
    > a small amount of luggage. I posted the DIN weight and others have posted
    > the EU kerb weight.

    Those goofy Europeans! They came up with the optimistic "World harmonized Light-duty vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) method for measuring a BEV's range and a pessimistic method for measuring a car's weight (by including a standardized human and belongings). The EPA rates the range of the MINI Cooper SE at 110 miles (or so MINI predicts), whereas the WLTP range is 124-144 miles.

    Edit: I just googled "DIN weight" and it refers to a German organization, Deutsches Institut für Normung, which defines standards for measurement.

    Soon after I receive my MINI Cooper SE (date still unavailable) I will visit a local truck stop to have it weighed. I did the same thing when I got my 2000 Insight. The lady operating the scale told me that I had to pull my car completely onto the scale. I told her it already was completely on the scale. She didn't realize a car could weigh as little as 1,850 lbs.

    It will be interesting to see how the MINI Cooper SE's actual weight compares to the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) weight listed on the car's info plate. Here's a sample MINI info plate from an ebay auction I found (why does the sum of the front and rear Gross Axle Weight Ratings exceed the GVWR weight by 97 pounds?):
    upload_2020-2-14_22-10-14.png

    My Iconic trim MINI Cooper SE will probably weigh more than 3,009 lbs due to the extra trim (eg. the moon roof). I hope I meet people with Signature trim and a Signature Plus trim MINI Cooper SEs whom I can talk into weighing their cars, too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020 at 11:24 PM
  9. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    The Canadian branch of Auto Trader rated various aspects of the MINI Cooper SE in their report from Miami. They give the car 9 out of 10 points for Fuel Economy and User Friendliness; 8 for Styling, Safety, Features, Quality, Power Train and Driving Feel; 7 for Practicality and 7 for Comfort, too; but only 6 for Value.

    > Driving Feel 8/10
    > Isn’t driving feel what the Mini is all about? Along with terminal cuteness,
    > of course. Other than the sense this electrified Mini feels a tad heavier
    > (about 150 kg more than a Cooper S with automatic transmission), all the
    > dynamic attributes of the brand are intact. Steering is sharp and direct,
    > and what corners I did find down here in southern Florida were dispatched
    > with ease. Non-run-flat performance tires are standard issue. The electric
    > drivetrain actually plays into the Mini’s handling, as it makes for better weight
    > distribution and a lower centre of gravity (by 30 mm). As noted earlier,
    > the instant and smooth delivery of power make the Cooper SE a fun and
    > formidable urban warrior.

    I was surprised to read this MINI doesn't come with run-flat tires. Car & Driver reported from Miami "the Cooper SE is shod with fun rubber: Goodyear Eagle F1s, an ultra-high-performance all-season tire." Car & Driver was testing the Iconic trim MINI Cooper SE with the unique 17-inch Corona Spoke wheels. Tire Rack doesn't list any 205/45R17 Goodyear Eagle F1 all-season run-flat tires, so this may be the rare MINI that doesn't have run-flat tires.

    From the Canadian Auto Trader report I learned the Canadian MINI Cooper SE is better equipped than the US model because all trim levels include MINI's Driving Assist package with Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Mitigation. I wonder why not even the top trim level in the US includes Driving Assist? I believe all Honda vehicles now include those safety features and more.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020 at 1:12 AM
  10. DucRider

    DucRider Active Member

    We'll have one in our EV Showcase at the Auto show next week. Don't know trim/specs yet, but we'll have it in place probably on Tuesday. If there is anything you want info or a photo of, let me know and I'll try and accommodate. Mini will have another in their main display as well. If they are being sold, there should be a Monroney sticker on them with the EPA range etc?
    We do comparison sheets highlighting some basic info for all the EV's on the market. Here is the one for the mini:
    [​IMG]
     
  11. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    @DucRider, because you posted that Oregon Electric Vehicle Association panel, I searched and found that there's an auto show in Portland beginning on February 20th. Very far from me in Michigan, unfortunately. The show's website doesn't believe the electric MINI Cooper SE merits inclusion in their list of Concepts, Pre-Production, Early Releases:

    Concepts, Pre-Production, Early Releases all at the 2020 show
    The 2020 show is packed with amazing vehicles from a plethora of manufactures here are a few examples of the vehicles you don’t want to miss: Chevrolet C8 Corvette Super Car, pre-production Ford Mustang Mach E, Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, pre-production Porsche Taycan, Concept VW Atlas Adventure, VW Atlas Facelift, pre-production Toyota Rav4 Prime, Lexus LFA, MINI GP, early release Hyundai Venue and early release Subaru Outback. Many more can be found at the show.

    Auto shows are for tire-kickers who come to look at cars and manufacturers bring cars to auto shows to promote the sales of those cars. So MINI will want to have a sticker in the window to make the MINI Cooper SE look like a car ready to be sold. It would be great if you could take a photo of whatever sticker MINI puts in the rear window, whether it's the final Monroney sticker or an asterisked stand-in sticker.

    I hope MINI sends people from the home office with actual product knowledge to stand next to the MINI Cooper SE. When we regular bozos get to the auto show in Detroit, it is usually the case that I know more about the cars than the representatives (often dealer salespeople) standing next to them. I'll never forget going to New York on my high-school Senior Trip when the New York Auto Show was in progress. I was oogling both a beautiful Mercedes sports car and the beautiful woman standing next to it. I never expected her to notice me, but to my surprise, she asked if I had any questions. I was astounded to find that she had an amazingly complete knowledge of the car's technical features--even to final drive ratios and the like!

    If you find someone near the MINI who has this level of knowledge, you can test them by asking the weight of the car. If they give the 3,153-lb number, ask them about the 3,009-lb number or vice-versa. Then please ask if the MINI Cooper SE comes with run-flat tires, both on the 16" and 17" wheels.

    Also, can you ask if Oregon dealers will have to drill holes in the aerodynamic front grille of the SE to mount a license plate? In Michigan we're lucky the state doesn't require front license plates (you can pay extra to get one when you buy personalized plates). I'm hoping the aerodynamic front grille will be smooth and hole-free. If the license-plate mounting holes are pre-drilled in the UK, will there be grille-colored caps included for those holes?

    Finally, quiz the rep about why an electric car needs a blocked-off, ICE-throw-back hood scoop. Tell them about your sad friend in Michigan who's already talking to body shops about replacing the standard SE hood with the scoopless hood from a base MINI--a replacement that could so easily have been a factory option. I would have paid extra for that factory option and the scoopless hood is certainly less expensive to manufacture.

    I just learned from my dealer that it will be possible to delete the moon roof (with no cost reduction) from the Signature Plus and Iconic trim levels. I also learned that the Iconic trim level has a $500 option to replace the Satellite Grey Chesterfield Leather upholstery with black leather. So factory options ARE possible with this MINI. Just not the factory option I've begged for in multiple letters to MINI in the UK and BMW in Germany.

    I did get an admission that including the fake hood scoop from the MINI Cooper S at the last second was a marketing decision, not a design decision. BMW wants to make it clear the MINI Cooper SE is linked to the sporty MINI Cooper S. The SE's aerodynamic grille is possible because the electric motor doesn't require the volumes of fresh air that an ICE-powered MINI does, but the company doesn't perceive the irony of including the un-aerodynamic, unnecessary and fake hood scoop directly above the new aerodynamic grille.

    Thanks, @DucRider!
     
  12. DucRider

    DucRider Active Member

    The OEVA sponsors the EV Showcase to have a place where people can see many of the current EV offerings and talk to owners with actual real world experience. Took an informal hand poll, and one member was on his 7th EV. We have ~5,000 sq ft and will have 15 EVs on display.

    [​IMG]
    We choose 32 of the comparison sheets to put on the "Find your EV" walls.
    The show never knows exactly what manufacturers are going to bring, so listing everything on the web is a bit of a guessing game. There have even been situations where a vehicles gets damaged in transit, and they won't put it on display.

    The local Mini dealer is actually very good and excited about EV's. They've brought the PHEV version to our NDEW (and other) events for test drives. Like most things, it is going to depend on who you talk to, but overall their knowledge is good. Mini brings in some corporate staff, but also rely's on dealer personnel. Ran into the GM of the dealership working the booth last year.

    Oregon requires a front plate, but you do see a fair number of cars running without (mostly luxury brands and "tuner" cars). If you park on the street in downtown Portland without a front plate, you will get a ticket. We have on Tesla owner who found a company that would vinyl print his front plate and it conforms to the bumper. He has had it on his Model 3 for about a year with no issues. They offer it in reflective and non-reflective versions (they recommended the non-reflective on the Tesla due to the potential to interfere with some of the sensors). Others have worked out temporary ways to mount a plate when they will be parking downtown.

    I'll probably pop up to the dealership after the show to take a spin in the SE. I've driven pretty much everything on the market and like to be able to give a general impression when folks ask about a particular vehicle. Obviously not as detailed as what an owner could provide, but a starting point.

    One of the fun things to watch is reactions to our ICE cutaway. We have a BMW X3 motor cut open that allows you to see the inner workings (pistons, cams, turbos, etc). We put that next to an Electric motor for comparison. 1800+ moving parts, 300+ lbs, 238 HP, and the associated maintenance is contrasted to a 100lb, 400 HP electric motor with essentially 2 moving parts and a 1 million mile anticipated maintenance interval. Have that electric motor and it's 900 HP (dual stack) big brother sitting in my living room right now along with the dual motor inverter to drive it.
    Local company acquired by Borg Warner, they put this in some pretty cool stuff (1200HP - as measured at the wheels - Pikes Peak racer - is one example)
    https://www.cascadiamotion.com/uploads/5/1/3/0/51309945/cascadia_motion_2019_catalog__13feb2020_.pdf
     
    insightman likes this.

Share This Page