MINI Clubman: Electric MINI

Is this the future?

MINI's all-new electric model boasts running costs as low as its emissions. But is the future electric?

This week I hopped over to MINI's development centre in Munich to drive the MINI E and see how cutting-edge technology is driving the electric revolution.

Surprisingly quick

After starting up the MINI E (no suprises what that stands for) and prodding the accelerator, you’re greeted by the eerie silence of the whisper-quiet lithium-ion battery – which uses technology similar to that found in mobile phones and laptops albeit on a much larger scale.

And it's great fun to drive. The E combines MINI's famously excellent handling with a top-class interior and 204bhp engine. It races to 62mph in 8.5 seconds and on to a surprisingly quick 95mph top speed.

Trials

It’s unlikely that this model will go into production in its current form, and we won’t see any electric MINIs on UK roads for a few years. MINI will send 500 models – manufactured in Oxford and finished in Munich – to buyers in the USA next year to put the electric car to the long-term test.

Experts from MINI’s parent company BMW will be on hand throughout the project, which is designed to see how the new technology withstands the rigours of day-to-day life. Owners will lease the cars for a year before they’re returned to engineers for testing and analysis.

That big battery comes at another cost too: it takes up a lot of room, making the MINI E a two-seater that can carry coats and a few small bags only.

Current mileage: 7855

Average mpg: 41.3