A Week With: 2022 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop 2 Door EV

The shift towards battery electric vehicles is underway as new vehicles, such as the 2022 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop 2 Door EV, attract more and more attention with good reason. While it is small and compact, it is an enormous amount of fun to drive. 

2022 Mini Cooper SE EV red nose
The 2022 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop 2 Door EV is the best of the go-kart-like handling expected from a Mini and the instant torque of an EV.

Overview

The response when you put your foot on the throttle is instantaneous and the torque is very apparent with the very, very quick acceleration. The vehicle looks just like the popular Mini two door, which has been a hit with urban buyers for years. However, this car’s electric powertrain moves it into another dimension. 

The Mini EV also is surprisingly well equipped with features such as heated seats and dual-zone climate control as well as a heated steering wheel. EVs are more expensive than vehicles with internal combustion engines. However, as EVs go, the Mini is very affordable. 

The Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price for the Mini EV I tested was $34,750 and buyers are eligible for a $7,500 tax credit. The Environmental Protection Agency estimate an owner of the Mini could save $3,500 in fuel cost over five years. 

2022 Mini Cooper SE EV red rear
The distinctive, two-door model is easy to recognize and served as Mini’s signature for years.

Exterior 

The Mini has a stylish, widely praised and iconic shape that has drawn praise from across the automotive and fashion industries. The distinctive, two-door model is easy to recognize and served as Mini’s signature for years. The vehicle’s wide stance adds to the Mini’s overall appeal. 

For 2022, the front fascia of EV has been refined but the light fixtures are nicely tucked into the front corners of the Mini, while the liftgate also is cleanly integrated into the vehicle. The Mini doesn’t have a lot of badging. The only sign it’s an electric vehicle is the EV symbol is the lower corner of the liftgate. The exterior design is augmented by the 17-inch Tentacle Spoke wheels. 

Interior

2022 Mini Cooper SE EV red front seats
The Mini EV offers plenty of space in the front seats as well as an excellent view.

The cabin of the 2022 Mini EV has a familiar feel to it, but while the interior space is small by today’s standards, I found it to be relatively comfortable with ample head, leg and shoulder room for the driver and front seat passenger. The rear seat is cramped, and the two-door body style makes it more difficult to reach for most adult but is perfectly adequate for children. 

The round center-stack display — Mini’s signature — offers the driver information on entertainment, navigation and, when necessary, guidance to a EV charger. The visibility from driver’s seat is excellent and there is space behind the rear seat there is room for groceries, a suitcase or some small packages.  

Powertrain

The 2022 Mini Cooper SE 2 Door is equipped with a 135-kilowatt electric motor with a single speed automatic transmission with two levels of two levels of power regeneration. The power comes with a 32.6-kilowatt lithium-ion battery as well as four different driving modes. AC and DC charging and 1.2 kilowatt charging cable that can be plugged into a wall socket for occasional use. The powertrain produces 181 horsepower and 199-foot pounds of torque. 

2022 Mini Cooper SE EV center stack
The round center-stack display — Mini’s signature — offers the driver information on entertainment, navigation and, when necessary, guidance to a EV charger.

For the Mini EV, the equivalent combined fuel economy rating from the EPA is 110 miles per gallon, including 119 mpg in the city and 100 on the highway. The range is 110 miles and on a Level 3 charger the Mini can recharge up to 80% within 36 minutes. 

Safety and Technology

The Mini Cooper SE is equipped with eight airbags, including knee protection in the front seat and side curtains for protection in rollover accidents. It also comes with forward collision, pedestrian and lane departure warnings and high-beam assistance and rear-view camera. 

It provides a center-stack touch screen with navigation and real-time traffic, as well as six-speaker Harmon-Kardon sound system, Bluetooth connectivity for telephone and audio streaming as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, high-beam assistance and rain-sensing windshield wipers.  

Driving Impressions

The Mini Cooper EV was a lot of fun to drive because of its nimble handling and quick acceleration since the power is delivered to the wheels instantly. It might be an electric vehicle, but it had very solid suspension and crisp steering. In addition, the regenerative braking system gives the Mini ample stopping power. 

I also drove it into the teeth of a Michigan snowstorm on slick streets and the handling on the car was very impressive under adverse conditions. No slipping or sliding and the car’s low center of gravity and extra weight from the lithium-ion battery pack kept the car centered in snow. The downside of driving in tough winter weather, the temperature dropped into single digits overnight, meant the car’s range was sharply reduced since I also had to use the heater and defroster. 

2022 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop 2 Door EV specifications

Dimension L: 150.7 inches/W: 68 inches/H: 55.7 inches/Wheelbase: 98.2 inches
Weight 3,145 pounds
Powertrain 135kW electric motor; 1-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy 119 eMPG city/100 eMPG highway/110 eMPG combined
Performance Specs 181 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque
Price Base price: $29,900; As tested: $34,750 including $850 destination charge
On-Sale Date Available now

Wrap Up

I was very impressed with 2022 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop 2 Door electric vehicle. It does not have a lot of space, but it is a lot of fun for a solitary driver and will meet the needs for commuters or for someone who needs a vehicle for weekend errands. 

It also is nicely equipped for the price, and I thought it was surprisingly affordable since it is priced well below the price of the average new vehicle sold in the United States and in addition to being eligible for the EV tax credit. However, I would recommend anyone buying the Mini Cooper install an electric charger at home because the car’s range is rather limited, and ready access to charger would increase the user’s overall satisfaction with the vehicle. 

2022 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop 2 Door EV ­— Frequently Asked Questions

What is the range of the Mini Cooper SE EV?

While the range may only be 110 miles officially, its ability to charge quickly helps ownership use-cases. The Cooper SE is based on, and dimensionally almost identical to the Mini Hardtop 2 Door launched in 2014. The Mini Cooper SE has been engineered to be an electric vehicle. 

What trim level is the 2022 Mini Cooper electric?

The Mini EV is currently available as the 2022 Mini Cooper Electric SE Hardtop 2 Door. It’s one of four available trim levels for the 2022 Mini Hardtop, but the only one available with an all-electric motor. 

Is the Mini EV a four seater?

I found it to be relatively comfortable with ample head, leg and shoulder room for the driver and front seat passenger. The rear seat is cramped, and the two-door body style makes it more difficult to reach for most adult but is perfectly adequate for children.  

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