MINI Cooper SE road tests

Discussion in 'MINI SE Electric' started by insightman, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    MINI has teased automotive journalists by allowing them only brief drives and "taxi rides" through New York City in the MINI Cooper SE. This month, the journalists will get a real crack at wringing out the car's real potential. MINI is focusing on the local carbon-neutral aspect of the car by making the whole event as carbon-neutral as possible.

    This BMW Blog article describes how carbon-neutral the press roll-out for the MINI Cooper SE this month in Miama, Florida, will be.
    • The test fleet will be recharged using solely renewable electric energy sources
    • MINI's buying environmental certificates to offset carbonated travel to-and-from the event
    • MINI's also compensating for other emissions produced in connection with the event
    Interestingly, the way MINI is compensating for the unavoidable carbon generated while conducting this official press introduction is to fund wind turbines in Patagonia.

    The article doesn't say exactly when in January this Miami press introduction is taking place, but we can expect to see some third-party opinions and test results soon.

    Hopefully, the journalists will comprehend the real benefits of the MINI Cooper SE's small battery: light weight and uncompromised interior volume. Light weight is essential to the MINI's basic premise: a responsive, agile, sporty car.

    With current battery technology, a 200-mile battery would require packaging similar to the 2009 MINI E, which had a battery so large that there was no rear seat and very limited trunk space. A 200-mile battery would weigh so much that the 181-hp electric motor would struggle to accelerate the car and the car's cornering ability would be severely compromised.

    It's fine with me if the journalists complain about the MINI Cooper's limited EV range. I hope some of them test that range to see if they can best the predicted 110-mile EPA number. However, I hope any complaining about the range doesn't include comparisons with the range of dull cars like the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Bolt.

    This car wasn't meant to compete with those cars. This car wasn't meant for people who live 50 miles from their nearest neighbor. This car wasn't meant for people who like to hang out in gas stations or change their oil. Like every other MINI, this car was meant for fun. However in this case, carbon-neutral fun.

    I hope every review will end with, "Sure, it would be nice if the MINI Cooper SE could go 300 miles on a charge, but for 100 electric miles, it's a heckuva lot of fun." I promise not to disparage any journalist who plagiarizes my closing sentence.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
  2. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    The Miami Press Introduction of the MINI Cooper SE has taken place. However, BMW has prohibited the participants from publishing test results and driving impressions until January 29th. Come February we will learn the importance of the car's 110-mile EV range to the automotive journalists invited to the event.

    Here's the kind of single-paragraph review I would hate to read (NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN ACTUAL REVIEW!!!):
    > It's a real MINI Cooper, but it's heavier so it doesn't corner as well,
    > it's electric so doesn't make the great MINI sound, and it has a
    > small battery so you can go only 100 miles before you have to start
    > looking for a charging station. A Tesla Model 3 it's not.
  3. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    At the MINI Cooper SE Press Introduction event, the BMW Blog extracted some information from one of MINI's engineers. Some of the information was new, but some of the answers were confusing.

    The one surprise was when the engineer said of the battery pack, "A modified version of the 94Ah battery package [from the BMW i3] is used and it repackaged to fit into the T-Pack used in the Cooper SE." Previously MINI had said the MINI Cooper SE incorporated a new battery pack based on battery modules from the Chinese company, CATL, not Samsung, who makes the batteries for the BMW i3.

    I've been waiting for information about the battery and motor cooling system and how it interacts with the heat pump that warms the cabin. The BMW Blog asked, "Active liquid heating/cooling of battery? Uses A/C system to cool? Heat pump and/or waste heat from motor to heat battery?"

    Perhaps the question was a bit convoluted, but the MINI engineer's answer didn't answer all its parts. "The motor and battery utilize a water/glycol mixture for heating and cooling. Separate circuits are used, utilizing a heat pump system." I assume "separate circuits are used" means the battery and the motor each have their own water/glycol system instead of a shared system. How do the separate circuits utilize a heat pump system? The engineer didn't indicate if it is possible for the system to heat the battery on cold days, or to cool the battery (and engine) below the ambient temperature on hot days.

    When discussing regen braking, the BMW Blog interviewer says, "Because the MINI is lighter, less regen power would give comparable braking." I believe the steel-bodied MINI Cooper SE is heavier than all-electric i3 with its carbon-fiber construction, but the engineer doesn't correct the interviewer. The engineer skips the question about how much energy regen braking produces and doesn't reveal any new information about regen braking at all.

    I was happy to learn that even though the gauges display only percentages, the MINI Cooper SE does indicate units when displaying efficiency: "SE Energy use is displayed in mi/kWh which can be toggled in the instrument cluster lower display and shown in the CID."

    The BMW Blog asks, "Will the MINI SE have something like Tesla's 'Dog Mode,' allowing the climate control system to operate while the car is parked and locked?" The engineer says not exactly, but doesn't explain what makes the MINI's climate preconditioning different from Tesla's Dog Mode.

    MINI recently estimated that the MINI Cooper SE's EPA range would be 110 miles, but didn't say that was the actual number. The engineer appears to state that 110 miles IS the final EPA-rated range: "...the EPA rating in the United States is 110 miles (176 km)."

    I wish the BMW Blog had asked how the MINI Cooper SE's weight ballooned from the earlier 3,009-lb number to 3,153 lbs. Perhaps the heavier weight is with a full gas tank? Just kidding.

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