The all-electric Mini Cooper SE will arrive in Australia as planned from mid-2020, dodging delays faced by other electric models as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, and thousands of potential customers have indicated their interest in the electric hatchback.
The compact, lively three-door has proven popular in overseas markets, with BMW reporting a 13.9% increase in sales of its BMW i3 and Mini Cooper SE in the first quarter of 2020 despite a 20% loss in overall sales across the board.
Electric vehicle analyst Matthias Schmidt reported in late March that more than 500 vehicles had been delivered in Europe with the majority of those going to the UK market.
GM of Mini Australia Brett Waudby says strong interest has been shown in Australia too, with 2,000 registrations of interest taken so far.
“The Mini Cooper SE is perfect for city dwellers, able to achieve an 80% charge in just 35 minutes when using a normal 50kW DC public charger,” Waudby tells The Driven.
” These characteristics will work well within the highly metropolitan cities of Australia, and so we expect a similarly strong interest in the car within the country. We have already received indications of interest from over 2,000 customers.”
The Mini Cooper SE will be available in Australia bearing the same specifications as in the UK market, powered by a 32kWh battery which Waudby says “will have a range of around 235 to 270 kilometres according to the latest WLTP measurement standard, while still providing the legendary Mini go-kart feel with 135kW and a 0-100km/hr acceleration time of 7.3s.”
One of the most affordable electric vehicles in overseas markets, it is thought that it may go on sale in Australia just north of $50,000 to compete with the Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Ioniq.
The arrival of the Ioniq in late 2018 and the Leaf in mid-2019 bolstered the narrow Australian EV market, entering at the sub-$50,000 mark with 280km and 270km driving range (WLTP) respectively.
The Ioniq subsequently received a battery upgrade from 28kWh to 38.3kWh taking its driving range to 311km with a new price of $A48,490 before on-road costs for the Elite trim and $A52,490 for the Premium trim.
At 3,845mm long and 1,727mm wide the Mini Cooper SE is the smaller of the three vehicles, but makes up for it with oodles of character.
It also tops its competitors in terms of power with 135kW from its front electric motor, while delivering 270Nm torque.
Waudby said that confirmation of pricing and the launch date will arrive within weeks.
“The all-electric MINI Cooper SE is scheduled to go on sale in Australia mid-2020. We will confirm the exact arrival date and price towards the end of April,” Waudby says.
The Mini Cooper SE will be built at BMW’s Oxford plant in Cowley, England, Mini’s central assembly facility. Along with other selected BMW plants, it has been closed since March but is due to be reopened at the end of April. Waudby notes this may change depending on future developments around the Covid-19 pandemic.
“With the global demand in the car market expected to drop, the BMW Group shut down selected production facilities since March, including its Oxford plant where the all-electric MINI Cooper SE is produced,” says Waudby.
“The plant is expected to reopen at the end of April 2020, but we will reassess the situation based on each country, depending on how things develop. Our production system is highly flexible, so we are able to respond to changes at short notice at any time.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.