Dealers and availability

Discussion in 'MINI SE Electric' started by interestedinEV, Oct 30, 2019.

  1. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Active Member

    My wife has been looking for this to get a test drive, but I think you would right about where it will first be sold.

    If the past is any indicator (with other companies), BMW/MINI will first come out in CA and saturate the market with the higher end trims, then move down the chain to other trims, then move to other states that have larger incentives or follow CA standards, before a national rollout. It makes most sense that way. To roll out the EV version, dealers have to invest in equipment, training and allocate capital. Hence, they are going to go where the sales is likely to be the highest or where the company needs to comply with emission standards. I live in Arizona and for example I cannot get the Hyundai EV or VW EVs. A dealer that I talked to told me that much, that his dealership had a few inquiries that was forwarded to Hyundai and were told that till they could meet the CA needs, they would not allocate to even neighboring states. I was told that even if I bought it in CA, any service in AZ would be on the best effort basis only.

    So I would not hold my breadth that MINI electric will be available soon in most states. My guess is that people in other states have to wait for at least one year after CA launch. And even that is optimistic. It would depend on demand and obviously supply.
  2. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    First, thank you for chiming in with your comment. I was feeling pretty lonely on this thread. Second, I agree with your assumption that CA will get all the SEs first and the non-obvious problem of training MINI dealerships to service the SE.

    I wonder how long it would take me to drive from California back to Michigan, stopping every 100 miles for a public EVSE? Of course, it would depend on whether I could find 35-45 minute DC Fast Charge stations or had to wait 4 hours for an AC EVSE at every one of the 24 stops I'd have to make. I guess I could have the car shipped, but what fun would that be? Back in 1983, I had an epic journey driving a mufflerless, topless, 850cc Morris Mini Moke from Hilton Head, SC, back to Michigan, but that's another story (the highlight being a stop at a convenience store called the "Morris Mini Mart").

    Unfortunately, if I took delivery in CA instead of having it shipped, I'd have to pay CA tax--and MI tax.

    The 100-miles-per-leg distance is based on unconfirmed speculation that the MINI Cooper SE's EPA-estimated range will be 114 miles per charge. It might be better than that, however. I was encouraged by this story about driving a MINI Cooper SE to the North Sea coast.

    The story says, "...the MINI Cooper SE embarked on a 200-kilometer journey from the Hanseatic city of Hamburg up to the picturesque island of Sylt, in the Northern Sea. Due to its specifically developed driving modes, the "green" MINI was able to cover the trip to Sylt and the return to Hamburg without the need of recharging its batteries."

    If the SE can go 200 km, it can go 124 miles just as easily. I wish the story would have specified what driving mode was used. I feel safe in assuming they used the GREEN+ mode that disables the HVAC and heated seats to stretch the range.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2019
  3. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Active Member

    Bluntly, with a 114 mile range I would not chance it. @bwilson4web is a whizz at route planning and he may have better ideas, but I cannot see a path on plug share from say Northern CA (Sacramento or near by, Southern CA would add another 300-400 miles). I see several gaps in the plugshare map below that are more than 120 miles apart, especially in the middle of the country. Also do not forget the time element, if you are charging every 1.5 to 2 hours. What will happen is that you drive 1.5 hours, and then spend another 1-1.5 hours charging, before you can resume. So you may be able to do a maximum of 300-400 miles a day, assuming that there are no delays in charging, while you might be able to do double that range in an ICE or a car such as Tesla S.

    Bob any suggestions for a route from northern CA to MI (say Detroit) when you have 120 mile range?

    That said, dealers may be willing to take only the MI tax without CA tax and ship it directly. It is not uncommon and there are several instances in the Hyundai Kona forum where NJ dealers did this. You have to find the right dealer, but then dealer may not be willing to negotiate on price, you may have to pay the MSRP. CA dealers are dealing with a supply problem so would demand top dollar and be less willing to go the extra mile but it can be done. If you can wait for some time after the launch, you may have better luck.

    Last edited: Nov 1, 2019
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  4. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member

    You've pretty well nailed it. When I tried trip planning for a CCS-1 vs. SuperCharger comparison on the Huntsville-to-Los Angeles route back in August, there was a gap in the California-to-Arizona section. Also, check the user comments as some of the Electrify America/EVgo station have been dodgy.

    The real challenge is not just the 120 mile range but also the fast DC charging rate. Our 100 kW peak, Model 3 can within the SuperCharger network go anywhere with a reasonable block-to-block speed of 60-65 mph. But any slower charging rates like our 50 kW BMW i3-REx would be pretty brutal (and expensive.)

    Bob Wilson
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2019
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  5. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Active Member

    The impression I got was that it is not a trivial effort. You have to send sales people and technicians for training, I am sure there are some additional equipment, and manuals to be stocked, it is not a mere variant of last years model, this is a completely different model. Yes, you have a PHEV being sold, but the battery pack sizes and locations are different. It may not be humongous difference but it is there. Also remember the type of customer who comes to buy a BEV is different from that of other types, even PHEV. They will ask a lot of different questions. For example charging time and charging options is a new question, not needed for other types.

    Many of them will go to California first. Again, it is based on both demand and compliance needs.
  6. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    Please report to us what you learn. Every day I run a new google search to discover what tiny tidbits might have been tossed to the 'net by MINI's publicity department since my last search. It will be interesting to see if MINI dares to send someone to the event who actually can answer all your questions or if they send a know-nothing, I'll-get-back-to-you, representative. In my experience, I have to teach the car salesmen (no women, so far) I visit everything about the electrified cars I want to buy from them, starting with my 2000 Honda Insight.

    The one thing I've yet to read anything about is the battery cooling system. Is it the same as the i3's? How does it connect to the heat pump to warm the cabin? What does it do when the ambient temperature is higher than the best operating temperature for the battery? Can it "air condition" the battery to a lower temperature than the ambient temperature? Does the motor use the same cooling system? Does it have a cooling system? How does it connect to the heat pump to warm the cabin?
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
  7. T.C.

    T.C. New Member

    Yesterday I received a call from my Mini dealership asking me to bob in and finalise colour choices and wheel options.
    Having returned from the dealership, I now have more idea of the order of upcoming events.
    The first Mini electrics to the UK will be batches of demo' cars allocated to dealerships. These will be loaned out to customers who have lodged deposits at those dealerships. The time frame suggests this will be late January or early February.
    Having used the car for a couple of days, customers can then opt to continue with the delivery of their selected vehicle in March, or choose to cancel the order for a full refund.
    Oh yes. Because I was the first to place a deposit I am assured I will be given a demonstrator first.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
  8. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    That loaner program is certainly a pro-customer approach, but it shows the company is concerned that people may not like the car as much as they expected when they placed their deposit. I've totally brainwashed myself into believing the MINI Cooper SE for which I placed a deposit will be fabulous, so if MINI USA also has a try-out program, it will be tough to give back the loaner and wait for my MINI.

    I know the car is now in production. Are automotive journalists now receiving cars for testing? Sometimes car companies impose an embargo date before which no test reports can be published, but I don't know if that's the case with the MINI Electric/MINI Cooper SE.

    Finally, when, oh when, is MINI going to release the EPA range numbers?
    interestedinEV likes this.
  9. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Active Member

    Interesting strategy

    The MINI dealers in the US are clueless (may be that is not a fair statement, my local Arizona dealer appeared clueless). I was at our local MINI dealer yesterday, to get my wife's car serviced, and tried to strike up a conversation about the MINI SE with a salesperson and his ignorance was telling:

    Me "So do you have any information on the MINI Electric?"
    Salesman "We hear it may come in May or June"
    Me "The problem is going to be the range, in the US it may be low"
    Salesman "No worries, MINI listens to feedback and will fix all those issues before they arrive here"

    It was very clear that he had no idea what I was talking about. Clearly not much information has been disseminated.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
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  10. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    After reading your post, I made up a PDF fact-sheet for my local MINI Ann Arbor dealership to use. Sadly, your AZ MINI dealer may be too clueless to benefit.

    I'll revise this fact sheet after MINI gets around to revealing the EPA range numbers. I'll also revise it if anyone finds any errors--so if you take a look, please tell me if there are any errors. Thanks.
    T.C. likes this.
  11. T.C.

    T.C. New Member

    The fact sheets look fine.
    Clearly I'm unaware if a similar policy will be adopted worldwide, or if this policy is purely restricted to the UK.
    Other than the option of level I, II or III. The only options were, which colour body and roof I required and which alloy wheel option I desired. That's it. No pack options or upgrade lists. Nothing at all. Very un-BMW like.
    Reading this thread it looks like there are only a few of us interested in purchasing!
  12. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Active Member

    The Tesla Model 3 prices are higher and the max range is 250 miles. just a couple of nits, else it is pretty good.

  13. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    The more nits the better--I want to be accurate.

    Your clip displayed the 250-mile "Standard Range Plus," not the 220-mile "Standard Range" that Tesla makes more difficult to purchase. I mean, really, no internet sales--call-in or store sales only? I took my data for the cheapest Model 3 from this Wikipedia page.

  14. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    Sad, but true. When the car is for sale and BMW lifts the embargo on publishing road tests, I believe this car will find its customers. The early adopters will be driving enthusiasts rather than advocates of the "range-is-everything" philosophy. The generous incentives in some markets (eg. California) that bring the price below $20K USD for this sophisticated (includes liquid battery cooling), well-appointed (compared to price-competitors) will make the car attractive to electric-car enthusiasts.

    Then, again, I thought the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid would find its customers based to its great price (which got greater as Honda piled on incentives to move dormant cars off dealer lots) and spectacular capabilities. I was wrong. Now Honda has pulled the car back to California-only, with customers in other states having to special-order the car. I was lucky Honda initially sold it as a 50-state (including Michigan) car because my 2-year old Clarity PHEV is spectacular. It will be the long-distance counterpart to our MINI Cooper SE city car.
  15. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    In this Automotive News article reporting that MINI is considering allowing non-BMW-owned dealerships to sell their cars, it is revealed that the US sales target for the MINI Cooper SE in 2020 is 2,000 cars. Because the car comes to the US in March, that target is for just 10 months of sales, for a paltry 200 cars/month.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  16. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Active Member

    BMW is having this issue to decide if MINI is sub-brand or an independent brand. Like Scion is a sub-brand of Toyota while Lexus is an independent brand. Starting with a BMW dealer makes it easy as the dealer is already familiar with the processes, tools and even people. Using a new dealership (who has no BMW connection) means a lot more effort but possibly exposure to a larger market and more aggressiveness then now. A BMW dealer would rather sell a BMW 7 series @ about $85,000 then a Mini @ about $25000. If MINI wants to a build a brand independent of BMW, they need to do increase number of dealers including in areas where BMW does not have a presence. The buyers do not necessarily overlap. We have had over 5 different MINIs but not one BMW. So bringing in other hungry dealerships who are more tuned into sub $35,000 market is not a bad idea.

    However, if they are going to sell 2000 units of MINI SE in a year and they have 121 dealers today. So each dealer has an average of say 16 cars for the whole year. Over 9 months, means that each dealer gets 1-2 per month, which may not fly well among some dealers. In California with the initiatives, the price may come down to $18,000 and I am sure the demand will be more 1-2 a month. That means that dealers somewhere else will be starved of cars. I cannot see it happening any other way. So that reinforces my hypothesis that they will begin in only selected markets before moving to more states.

    This raises another question, is this a compliance car that BMW is bringing out? I3 is not much of a starter, is MINI another way to meet the compliance needs? May be it is only me, I am not getting the warm fuzzies about what BMW wants to do with this car. If it is a compliance car, again certain markets are more likely to be preferred.
  17. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    Then there are the 78,000 "expressions of interest" in the UK and Europe to satisfy. I wonder how many electric MINIs can they manufacture a year?

    BMW could obviously sell 2,000 MINI Cooper SE cars a year in the US at a price higher than $29,990. So the "compliance" aspect is not a factor in the price. If the price was higher, the company could make more money and still achieve any compliance benefits 2,000 cars can provide. The goal of the low price seems to me to be one of (gasp!) affordability. It will be interesting to see what dealers do with the price, should the car prove very popular.

    Interestingly, of the 121 MINI dealerships in the US, the single one that is not affiliated with a local BMW dealership is the one 3 miles from my house in Ann Arbor. It is owned by the Germain Automotive Group. That group owns a BMW dealership in Naples, FL, but it is not affiliated with MINI of Ann Arbor. I hope MINI of Ann Arbor follows Germain Honda's practice of not pumping up the price of popular cars. Germain Honda sold the once-rare Honda Civic Type R at MSRP even when the car was in high demand, so I'm optimistic.

    I maintain hope that MINI of Ann Arbor can snag one of the MINI Cooper SErs flowing across the country towards the west coast this March.

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