The incoming Honda e looks to have hit a major snag before even going into production: on paper, the new Mini Electric appears to walk all over it. While Honda has hinted at BMW i3-like ‘premium pricing’ well over £30k for the e, the new plug-in Mini is a tempting £24,400 when factoring in the government grant.
Spec for spec, that’s a similar figure to a Cooper S, and it’s also similarly potent - the 32kWh battery pack and front-axle mounted motor combo make for 181bhp and 199lb ft of torque. 0-62mph happens in 7.3 seconds, while the top speed is limited to 93mph.
The WLTP range of 124 - 144 miles is similar to what the Honda will manage, but a fair way behind the Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e siblings. When you’re out of juice, it’s possible to feed an 80 per cent charge into the Mini’s 12 lithium-ion battery cell modules in just 35 minutes using a 50kW station.
It’s 145kg heavier than a Cooper S, so the Mini Electric inevitably won’t handle quite as sweetly. It’ll claw back some ground, however, by having a centre-of-gravity that’s 30mm lower. You can thank the low-lying slab of battery cells for that.
The Mini Electric will give four driving modes to choose from. ‘Sport’ has the most aggressive steering and “a more rapid power delivery,” with the former attribute toned down a tad in ‘Mid’. ‘Green’ softens the throttle pedal action further, while ‘Green+’ restricts or turns off things like the air conditioning for maximum range. Independent of these modes, you’ll also be able to choose how powerful the power regeneration is when you lift off the accelerator.
Other than some splashes of yellow, there isn’t much in the cabin to give this away as anything other than a regular Mini. The Electric does, however, gain a new 5.5-inch screen which forms the new instrument cluster.
Like the look of the first fully electric production Mini? It’s available to order now for £24,400 including on-the-road costs, or for a £4000 plus monthly payments of £299 if leasing is more your bag. First deliveries will begin in March 2020.