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Test drive: The electric Mini Cooper SE

The electric Mini Cooper SE retains the go-kart driving experience that the brand is known for. But its range leaves a lot to be desired.

If there is one car that dovetails perfectly with the electric movement, it is the Mini. The British marque has built a rabid following that is the envy of many other carmakers thanks to a combination of a fun “go-kart” driving experience and a brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

With the electrical revolution well and truly underway, it makes sense for Mini to hop on the responsible bandwagon, in classic Mini fashion, of course. Instead of the moniker Mini Electric, the battery-powered car is called the Mini Cooper SE. The distinguishing factor from its petrol-powered counterparts is the fluorescent green detailing at the front. The lack of exhaust pipes also gives its electric identity away, much like the Taycan.

“Mini first, electric second” is the brand’s crying call. It definitely drives like one. Step on the accelerator and the Mini Cooper SE rockets forward, reaching 60kph in four seconds. The century sprint takes about twice that time, but this instant torque is more than sufficient for Singapore’s stop-start city streets. Cornering continues to be a delight and the trademark Mini agility is still present, in spite of its heavy weight – 1,365kg, or about 145kg heavier than the petrol Cooper S.

(Related: The fastest Mini Cooper yet arrives on our shores)

The electric Mini Cooper SE has a fluorescent green detailing at the front.

The electric Mini Cooper SE has a fluorescent green detailing at the front.

This extra heft is due to the batteries. Mini has already accomplished some engineering wizardry to squeeze them into the small chassis of the Cooper SE. However, that meant a hit to the maximum range. The electric Mini is only capable of about 220km on average. That is about a four-day commute. If you have a heavy right foot, that range will drop significantly.

These drawbacks haven’t affected the Cooper SE’s sales though. According to Mini Singapore, the first run is completely sold out and there have been additional enquiries. The electric Mini is priced at $166,888 and it comes with the COE and the installation of a wall-mounted electric charger.

(Related: What it takes to run an electric race)