Pop quiz time Autopians. Can any of you tell me, on what planet something taking five hours could be considered fast? Well, Adrian, since a great man once informed us that time is relative, shouldn’t you qualify your question by telling us what’s taking this brain-softening amount of time? Ha. Trick question, because I’m writing the article and therefore I am going be smarter than all of you until you’ve finished reading it. Five hours should be considered “fast” because here in the UK 7kw EV chargers are labelled as such. And five hours is the amount of time it would take to fully charge the Mini Electric Resolute. I didn’t need a watch. I needed a fucking calendar.
When I reviewed the Honda e last year, I wanted to dig into the ROPID cute design rather than waste half the piece detailing my range and charging struggles, guaranteeing the comment section would turn into a flame war quicker than your humble author got duffed up on Twitter by the Tesla stans the other week. But there were struggles, and they were real. Like approximately two in five UK households (not number of cars) I have no off-street parking (don’t worry, the Ferrari is safely tucked up in a garage a few minutes walk away). My neighbor a few doors down recently purchased a new Fiat 500e, and I regularly see it plugged into a cable trailing across the pavement (sidewalk) to their house.
Well Gentleman, It’s A Long Walk Back to England. And It’s *That* Way.
[Editor’s Note: I’m not sure I fully understand all these subheads, but I suspect they’re all deeply British in some way that makes sense if you’re from that charming island of mild pleasures, so I’m just gonna leave ’em as is. – JT] [UPDATE: Adrian told me, and now it all makes sense: they’re lines from The Italian Job, the original one! I’m such a dummy. – JT]
When it comes to range, the tiresome EV evangelists constantly refute range requirement argument by asking how often you need to drive 300 miles in one trip. That’s a spectacularly stupid to look at it. What they should realize is having that much range means you can do 300 miles in TOTAL before having to plug in for a few hours. For those with busy lives full of mewling children and soap operas and whatever else it is normal people fill their lives with, if you can’t charge at home or work, that is a major sodding inconvenience. It doesn’t matter if it’s an electric car or an electric monocle polisher, if you want the mainstream consumer to embrace your shiny new product you have to offer the same or better than what they have now, for less cost.
And in terms of how much Mini you get compared to a petrol Cooper S this Electric Resolute is motivational power aside, basically the same car. Some clever packaging of the cells under the rear seats and along the spine of the car means you don’t lose any interior or boot (trunk) space. But crucially you don’t gain any either – there’s no frunk because all the other assorted on-board chargers, inverters and control units an EV needs are under the hood. The two charging cables, a Type 2 and good old UK household 3 pin foot murderer are kept under a false boot floor. The only dimensional differences with the standard car are 18 mm (3/4”) in extra ride height and 145kg (320lbs) in added lard. The financial difference is wider: at £35,000 the Electric is about £5k more than the Cooper S Resolute.
Adrian, Shorten the Sleeves, Will You, Love? I’m not a Gorilla
Despite what you might think, this is still an extremely bijou car, and avoids the unfortunate puffer fish proportions of the bigger models in the range, which have to platform share with FWD BMWs, cars from the next class(es) up. The three door is still only 3900 mm (150”) long and 1730 mm (68”) in girth. Getting my radio control car racing gear in the back (which appears to be becoming my standard boot space comparison shot) required a bit of Tetris-ing, and although I didn’t need the driver’s seat all the way back, even Torch wouldn’t have been able to sit behind me unless he wanted to ride side saddle across the rear bench.
[Editor’s Note: I’m okay with that. Hey, where are we going, anyway? – JT]
Those seats though, on what I assume is a run-out ‘shit we’ve got a load of these things to shift before the new model arrives’ trim uplift are covered in a splendidly jazzy light checkered fabric. This Resolute Edition has various bronze accents instead of chrome and is painted in a very dark ‘Rebel’ green previously only available on the John Cooper Works. Someone at the Oxford plant probably ordered too many barrels of the stuff by mistake. As you would expect it’s all very tasteful and well done, if a bit somber. I saw a standard Electric while I was driving this and couldn’t help but think in a lighter color with UK plug wheels and neon green highlights looked, well more fun. And aren’t Minis cheeky and not murdery?
As You Go Round, Look For That Bloody Exit. We Can’t Go Round Here All Night.
Exterior colors and trim aside, one place where the Mini sense of fun definitely remains is in the driving. Is it anything like my old 2010 Clubman? Don’t be daft. There’s seven years of chassis improvements between them. Is it an absolute hooligan machine that goads you into driving like you’ve just stolen $4 million in gold from under the noses of the mafia? Making 180 bhp (135 kw, whatever the fuck that is) and about 205 lb ft (280 nm) the Electric makes as near as makes no difference the same outputs as the Cooper S.
With the traditional instant EV throttle response it’s hilariously nippy. The 0-62 is 7.3 seconds, and you’ve got about 3 more seconds of foot to the floor fun after that until the speed limiter cuts in at 93 mph. Even when driving like this the regen is strong enough for one foot driving, so it’s very occasionally a bit head noddy when you’re just pootling around town. It’s all exactly what you want and expect from a Mini: alert steering, wicked ability to rotate thanks to the short wheelbase, and the ability to zap instantly into any gap in the traffic that appears.
If you’ve driven any nuMini, everything here is instantly familiar and high quality. The central binnacle has a rectangle screen slightly awkwardly crowbarred into the middle of it, there’s the line of trademark toggles (one of which adjusts the drive mode and hence regen), rotary HVAC controls and another digital display in front of you for power, speed and charge. The hidden glovebox is no more, but the “mood ring” around the binnacle automatically does a few fun things like counting you down to a direction change or display remaining battery. I went through the iDrive looking to turn off the “mimic cheap wedding disco light”’ function until I realized what it was doing. The heads-up display emerges Thunderbirds like from the top of the IP on start up, but unlike the one in the BMW it can’t display directions from Apple maps (it does with the native navigation though).
The Map Will Be In Your Head Chris, I’m Burning This One.
Usually when doing these reviews, I give the standard infotainment a cursory flick through for a couple of days to get the feel of it, reset the trip so I can get an idea of my overall mpg, discover where the important settings are hidden, and then revert to Carplay. This time I was determined to use iDrive because I wanted to understand how the Mini would handle finding charge points.
I still have a confection of various apps and maps on my phone from my time with the Honda, covering various companies, but I wanted to see how the built in software worked. I figured this would be crucial, because the Mini battery is only 32.6 kWh, of which 28.9 is usable. Mini tell you this should be good for up to 143 miles of range, but I was determined to use it for both my regular RC car racing on a Friday night (about a 60 mile round trip) and then a trip to Santa Pod drag strip (90 mile round trip) the next day. Don’t worry Mini UK, I wasn’t about to hurl it down the quarter mile in the Run What Ya Brung. A check on the website stated VERY CLEARLY there were no EV charging points on site anyway.
Ok in the first paragraph of this review I was a bit facetious. But it’s indicative of the problem if you must use public chargers. 7 kWh charging is right next door to bloody useless. All these should be yanked out of the tarmac and fired into the sun. I stopped trying to use the built in navigation because it listed chargers in corporate car parks and private chargers as well. When in you’re in an unfamiliar area desperate to hook up, this is immensely frustrating.
On the Saturday evening I gave up, opened up Zap Map on my phone and headed to a big retail park where there appeared to be plenty of charging available. When I got there, I had to drive around looking amongst the rows of parked cars for the green painted bays to figure out where the chargers were. Why on earth were they not all located together? When I found the only two Rapid (22 kWh and over) chargers, both bays were occupied by Teslas. Because of course they fucking were. I waited around half an hour or so, but in the end went and found one about ten miles away in a health center car park. 21 minutes gave me enough to make the remaining forty or so miles home.
You see the problem? And that’s only part of it. Getting to 85% or so charge is fine but squeezing in that last 15% to maximize your range is what takes the time as the speeds slow down to protect the car battery. So on the hoof you’re really limited to 85% of your quoted maximum range, in this case about 119 miles. In reality the most I had to play with was 110. Oh, and high-speed charging is expensive. I spent about £29 ($36) to do roughly 200 miles. I will add though, at no point did the indicated efficiency drop below 4.1 miles per kWh, which is excellent.
Hang On A Minute Lads, I Got A Great Idea
There’s an inherent tension about this Mini Electric. I loved driving it. It makes you want to nip about in it, taking advantage of its driving dynamics. But in a way you can’t, because you’ll dim the lights faster than a lonely forces-partner plugging in the Magic Wand. And truth be told, even though we are all enthusiasts, ninety-five percent of the time despite what we might say on the internet we’re not running up to the redline in every gear and banging through every shift like Lewis Fucking Hamilton. Nope it’s running boring life errands, picking up cat food or shower spaghetti and sitting in traffic, making no noise, emitting no emissions, using no power, and for these things an EV makes perfect sense. I can see why David was so captivated by his i3 he bought another, slightly less good EV.
Recently Vauxhall contacted every local authority in the UK to find out how many are planning on installing on street charging. Of the councils who responded, 72% had no strategy in place, 69% had yet to install any, and London, which has the best public transport anywhere in the UK, will soon have more than double the amount of on street charging than the rest of the UK combined. How much range do I need? About 250 miles a week should cover it. Which is what the new 2024 Mini Cooper promises.
Don’t be too sure about the English, cousin. They are not so stupid as they look.