The electric MINI is here, thanks to the arrival of the new MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 plug-in hybrid.
A 3-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor combine to produce a total system output of 224 hp, a 0-62 mph time of 6.9 seconds, CO2 emissions of 49 g/km and average fuel consumption of 134.5mpg.
Electric driving is possible at speeds of up to 78mph, with an electric range of up to 25 miles. The lithium-ion high-voltage battery can be charged at a wallbox in 2.15 hours.
The Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 is the first plug-in hybrid model offered by MINI. The front wheels are powered by the combustion engine, the rear wheels by the electric motor. A modified 6-speed Steptronic transmission transfers its power to the front wheels.
The 88hp electric motor is housed under the luggage compartment floor and generates a maximum torque of 165 Nm that is available from standstill. The electric motor directs its power to the rear axle via a two-stage single-speed transmission.
The lithium-ion battery is positioned directly in front of the electric motor underneath the rear seat. It is made up of five modules, each comprising 16 battery cells. Like the electric motor, it is produced at the Dingolfing plant, the BMW Group’s competence centre for eDrive technology. The high-voltage battery has a capacity of 7.6 kWh. At a wallbox with a charging capacity of 3.6 kW it can be fully charged in 2:15 hours. Charging at a regular household socket takes 3:15 hours.
Using the power of the electric motor alone, the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 is able to provide locally emissions-free driving, and in the event that more intense acceleration is required, the electric motor supports the combustion engine via a boost function. A total system output of 224 hp and a combined torque of 385 Nm are available.
Only one of the two power units is used when the car is moving, while the other one can be additionally enabled at any time to provide an intelligent all-wheel drive system to optimise traction, ride stability and agility. The signal required for this purpose comes from the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) unit, which continuously analyses both the situation on the road and the commands of the driver.
The precisely controlled interaction achieved in the powering of the front wheels by the combustion engine and the rear wheels by the electric motor is the same as the principle that is applied in the BMW i8, only the other way around.
The driver can also use the eDrive toggle switch to choose between three operating modes.
In AUTO eDRIVE the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 runs on electrical power only up to a speed of 50 mph. At higher speeds and in the case of very intensive loads, the combustion engine is automatically enabled in addition.
In MAX eDRIVE mode the vehicle is powered by the electric motor alone at speeds up to 78 mph.
The SAVE BATTERY mode can be selected so as to relieve the capacity of the high-voltage battery or raise its charge state to at least 90 per cent so that sufficient electrical power remains for purely electric driving later on.
When route guidance is activated on MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 standard-fit navigation system, the anticipatory energy management system ensures that appropriate sections of the route are run on electric power alone. Taking the data from the navigation system into account, the operating strategy of the hybrid system is geared towards drawing on the energy capacity of the high-voltage battery to maximum extent.
The high-voltage battery is housed underneath the slightly raised rear seat, as is the 35-litre fuel tank. When all seats are in use, the luggage compartment volume in the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 is only slightly less than in the conventionally powered model variants. The rear backrests offer the possibility of a 40 : 20 : 40 split; they can also be folded down and varied in their tilt angle.
In 2008 the MINI E was the BMW Group’s first ever purely electrically powered car and was driven by private users in everyday traffic as part of a large-scale field experiment. More than 600 of the MINI E, based on the MINI Cooper Hatch, were used for practical testing purposes worldwide. The project yielded vital insights into the use of electrically powered cars which were incorporated in the development of the BMW i3.