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Text | Idris Talib
Photos | BMW, Low Fai Ming, Newslink

4 May 2020

The MINI Electric is the brand's fully electric offering that's not only perfectly suited for the future but also highly suitable for current times.
The number of electric cars are growing on our roads, and in the statistics, it shows.

In 2009, there was just a single registered fully electric passenger car on our roads, according to the Land Transport Authority. 10 years later, that number increased to 1,120.

This year, MINI is putting out a new all electric model on our roads - the MINI Electric. But it doesn't spell out the end of internal combustion engined MINIs. It is all about giving MINI buyers the power of choice, with a new electric powertrain that might suit your needs.

But is going fully electric really a thing of the future, or is it something that one can adopt today? I've chosen the MINI Electric to ponder on the possibility of all-electric motoring.
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Fitting range

I looked back on some of my concerns, with the first being range. I cover an average of about 20-30km a day. And my routine drive doesn't include expressways. I spend a lot of time in start-stop traffic in the city.

The MINI Electric's range is some 200km. With a fast 50kW charger, the MINI can in fact charge to 80% in just 35 minutes.
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Think about it. Unless you're charging a completely flat battery, you probably can top up the remaining charge for far less time. Plus, with constant traffic lights in my way, I could be topping up a kilometre or two of my range just from regenerative braking.

I could in fact go for close to a week without needing to charge if I wanted to. With the availability of charging stations now and in the future, charging will get even more convenient.
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Easy chargin'

Still, charging up an electric vehicle still is a concern. As I don't live in a landed property, and charging station access will be an issue.

With more and more charging stations propping up, it will only get easier to drive something like the MINI Electric around in the future. Plus, this year's Budget has announced that by 2030, there will be 28,000 charging points in Singapore!

Until then, I can charge it at work or at home. For example, there's a fast CCS2 SP Group charger a stone's throw away from the sgCarMart office. The fast SP Group DC charger costs just $14 to fully charge the MINI. And back home, there's a public charger, which offers AC Type 2 charging. The MINI Electric can take both AC and fast DC charging options.
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And if that isn't enough, there are charging stations in malls. They're reserved lots, which means even when the malls are full, you're almost guaranteed a parking space. Some malls like Our Tampines Hub even offers free charging!

But my favourite part is the MINI Electric's pre-conditioning feature. You can program the car to turn the air-conditioning on after a set amount of time, meaning you'll be back in a comfortably cool car by the time you're done charging.

In fact, with these free or cheap charging options available, it makes a lot of sense to drive something like the MINI Electric today.
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Fun to drive

Some might think the introduction of all electric vehicles will spell the end of fun cars. But with the MINI Electric, that isn't the case.

One of the perks of driving an all-electric car is its instantaneous torque. And with the MINI, you get to zip around traffic with ease with its pint-sized proportions.
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While instant torque can be fun, having a car that responds well to driver inputs brings about an enthusiastic experience behind the wheel. There's good news. That go-kart feeling that everyone raves about is ever present in the MINI Electric. In fact, it's even more fun.

Because having the battery packs down low allows for a lower centre of gravity. In fact, its centre of gravity is at least 30mm lower than the MINI Cooper S 3-Door.

With a low weight of just over 1.3 tonnes, coupled with its 184hp and 270Nm of instant torque, the MINI Electric is the perfect recipe for a fun-to-drive city car.
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Clean 'n' green

The best part of all this is that you're having a fun car with no tailpipe emissions. And there's no noise pollution, too. While electricity production is not free from emissions, it is still far less than an ICE-powered car.

What about manufacturing emissions? Well, MINI also didn't have to create a completely new manufacturing line for the Electric.
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The same tooling and processes used to manufacture the Cooper 3-Door is still largely used, with the Electric's battery situated where the fuel tank would in a petrol-driven variant.

While the MINI Electric is a green option now, it'll continue to be a greener option in the future, as the government adopts more incentives and tax breaks on Additional Registration Fees starting next year.
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Still the quirky, lovable MINI

We love MINIs for their proportions, good looks and character behind the wheel. Very few cars can evoke the same emotions a MINI can.

With the MINI Electric, that's all still intact. To everyone, it is still most recognisable as a MINI. The only difference is that this one is quieter, and you charge it up with electricity, instead of filling it up with fuel.

With its good looks stirring emotions, with a sustainable powertrain, the MINI Electric is a reasonable all-electric car definitely I can see myself driving and living with every day.