MINI has taken a decade-long break from the electric-vehicle realm, as its last venture in electrification resulted in the 2009 MINI E. According to a report by Autocar, the siesta ends soon with the upcoming arrival of the 2020 MINI Cooper S E.
Autocar indicates MINI will base the 2020 Cooper S E on the current three-door version of the MINI Cooper. Sure, this body and platform were never built with an EV platform in mind, but MINI will modify the underpinnings to work with an electric powertrain. We expect to see the obligatory EV upgrades to the body, including a closed-off grille, smoother wheels, and other aerodynamic updates.
There are no indications of what to expect inside the Mini Cooper S E, but the latest trend in EV styling is to keep it traditional. Though the MINI Cooper is far from traditional, we expect no wild updates to set the 2020 Cooper S E too far from its base donor car, except a few EV-focused gauges.
Reports from Autocar and Green Car Reports say BMW officials have confirmed the MINI Cooper S E will come with the same electric motor as the BMW i3, giving it 181 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. This would make it just 8 hp and 8 lb-ft shy of the gasoline-fueled MINI Cooper S, but its instantly available power should help it overcome that shortage and the extra heft its batteries add to remain close to the Cooper S’ 6.5-second sprint to 60 mph.
Speaking of battery heft, Green Car Reports says the 2020 Cooper S E will use a higher-capacity version of the i3’s 42.2-kilowatt-hour battery, which delivers 153 miles of range in the Bimmer. To get the Cooper S E to the desired 200-mile range, MINI will likely boost the battery pack to between 52 and 60 kilowatt hours.
For comparison’s sake, the 2009 MINI E boasted more power at 204 hp, but its torque was way down at 162 lb-ft. Also, battery tech was far less advanced as its 573-pound, 38-kilowatt-hour battery was heavier than today’s batteries and delivered just a 150-mile range. The reduced torque, added heft, and other variables resulted in a significantly slower 8.5-second jog to 60 mph.
The available safety features in the 2020 Mini Cooper S E remain uncertain, but its gasoline-fueled sibling is an IIHS Top Safety Pick with “Good” scores in all crash tests, and an “Advanced” front-crash-prevention rating with its optional frontal collision warning with city collision mitigation, which is included in the Active Driving Assistant package. We expect this to remain the same in the 2020 MINI Cooper S E.