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Different crisis, same Mini style

The legendary Mini is charging ahead with an all-electric version, writes Geraldine Herbert

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The all-electric Mini Cooper SE

The all-electric Mini Cooper SE

The all-electric Mini Cooper SE

Born out of the 1950s fuel shortages and the invasion of German bubble cars, the first Mini rolled off the production line in 1959.

Now, 61 years later, and in response to a crisis of a different sort, Mini's first all-electric offering has been launched.

Based on the three-door hatch, the Mini Electric logo on the car's side scuttles, tailgate and front radiator grille, along with the three-pin plug socket alloys and bright yellow trim panels, scream electric version but if you want a more muted Mini look you can opt instead for regular paint and wheel options.

Inside, the signature retro- meets-modern styling is evident and there is a new digital dashboard with a 5.5in colour screen behind the steering wheel.

As with all Minis, it feels reassuringly solid. Space is good in the front and while it is possible to carry some full-sized friends in the back, they won't thank you on a long journey.

Flip the yellow toggle starter switch and discover there is nothing dull about the Cooper SE.

It feels just like a Mini should and hugs the road.

Steering is nicely weighted and there is plenty of pep but, be warned, you will feel any ripples in the road vibrate up through your seat.

Sharing much with BMW's i3, the battery capacity of 32.6 kwh gives it a real-world driving range of around 270km, depending on how you drive. Charging at home will take a little over three hours and a 50kW DC fast-charging station will allow you to gain around an 80pc charge in about 35 minutes.

Pricing for the new Mini Cooper SE starts at €27,765  and to charge it on the ESB night rate on a home charger will cost less than €4.

Three trim levels are available and standard goodies include connected navigation, real-time traffic information and LED headlights and tail lights.

The new Cooper SE may not have the longest electric range but with driver appeal, style and that legendary  Mini handling, it is a car which cannot fail to impress.

Sunday Independent