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A silver 2024 MINI Cooper SE is shown parked on a city street.

An Overlooked EV: The MINI Cooper SE

It was just a little over a decade ago when we witnessed the rise of the EV as not just an alternative to the gasoline-powered car but one that’s accessible to the average consumer. While early offerings like the Nissan LEAF and Honda Insight were certainly far ahead of the curve in terms of affordable electric vehicles, they represented the idea that affordable EVs should be small and boring with an emphasis on practicality. Now, things have changed considerably. We’ve seen the technology applied to considerably larger vehicles to the point where full-size trucks and SUVs now have the capability to bypass the pump altogether and deliver the same results as their gasoline-fueled predecessors and counterparts.

While there’s no shortage of discourse surrounding the available EVs on the marketplace, there seems to be one that’s continually overlooked: The MINI Cooper SE. Coming to the United States by way of Great Britain, the MINI Cooper SE certainly lives up to the MINI Cooper legacy, allowing the average buyer to experience fine British performance for a reasonable price. Its posh styling and nimble handling have made the traditional MINI Cooper a popular pick among driving enthusiasts, and with the vehicle’s electric variant, we ask ourselves, “What’s not to love?”

​​Marketed for the Masses

At first glance, the MINI Cooper SE might appear to be a costly purchase. Like many electric vehicles with a strong sense of style, we might immediately assume that that model comes with a hefty price tag that makes it only attainable to drivers with a disposable income. However, unlike a Tesla or a BMW, the 2024 MINI Cooper SE is accessible on an average income. A starting MSRP of only $30,900 places electric performance in the palm of your hand and allows for a chance to avoid the costly fill-ups associated with gasoline vehicles.

Unlike some of its counterparts, the MINI Cooper SE packs in a host of standard features, much to the delight of those who want more for their money. A leatherette interior, dual-zone climate control, and heated front seats are all standard. Considering that vehicles such as the Chevy Bolt EV are bare-bones on the base trim, this is one model that offers plenty from the ground floor up. Drivers also have the opportunity to choose from a variety of items that can turn the MINI Cooper SE into a customized extension of their unique personality. From rich leather interiors to yellow mirror caps and racing stripes, this is certainly one vehicle that offers more for a lower up-front cost.

Going Electric Never Felt So Good

While the MINI Cooper has never been noted for its break-neck speed, it’s always garnered attention from many due to its exquisite handling and quick acceleration, making it ideal for the driver who wants to dip their toes in the waters of high-performance driving on the weekend. The EV variant of the MINI Cooper follows this rich tradition and offers quite a bit in the way of performance.

The 2024 MINI Cooper SE is powered by a single electric motor on the front axle, propelling the vehicle forward with 181 hp and the capability to generate 199 lb-ft of torque. This powertrain is fueled by a relatively small 28.9 kWh battery and provides impressive acceleration. With the ability to travel from 0-60 mph in a mere 6.1 seconds, the MINI Cooper SE can outrun the majority of the vehicles on the road, even if it falls short compared to high-performance electric cars.

In terms of charging, MINI’s design is geared towards the driver who’s short on time and wants to hit the road in a hurry. The manufacturer attests that you can recharge to 80% in just 36 minutes with a DC fast charger, and a full Level 2 charge from the comfort of your own home takes approximately five hours. That’s not too shabby, especially if you live in an area where public charging stations might not be as prevalent. When it’s got a full tank of juice, the 2024 MINI Cooper SE has an estimated range of 114 miles, making it ideal for the driver whose commute is almost exclusively to the suburbs and the city.

The black interior of a 2024 MINI Cooper SE is shown.

Interior Design That’s Electrifying

If you’re already impressed with the exterior design and electric performance of this version of the MINI Cooper, then opening the driver’s side door and sitting behind the wheel will certainly take your breath away. The infotainment screen that serves as the anchor for the interior is just as large as some of the others on the market, yet it’s packed with more features and innovation than you might expect. The screen, which measures 8.8 inches, is encapsulated within a circular interface, giving it a truly unique look that caters to those who have a penchant for style. Access to both Apple and Android products is provided, as is built-in navigation and an app that can heat the interior of the car prior to entry. But the amenities and comforts don’t end there.

As we previously mentioned, all versions of the 2024 MINI Cooper SE come with such amenities as a heated steering wheel, heated seats, and dual-zone climate control. The interior can also be customized to your precise liking, down to a variety of different colors to appeal to your own sense of style. A five-inch digital instrument cluster gives drivers a comprehensive readout of mileage, battery life, and more to help guide their way on their travels. Available features that can further enhance your entertainment options include wireless smartphone charging and a high-end stereo system from Harman Kardon.

On the Cutting Edge of Technology

Aside from offering a wide array of entertainment features and refined sophistication, the MINI Cooper SE also provides an impressive array of high-end driving assistance features. Many of the basics are covered, such as forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and pedestrian detection. More advanced features include rain-detecting windshield wipers and automatic headlights. For drivers who are looking to take driving assistance to an entirely new level, hands-free parking assistance is available.

A person is shown charging a white 2024 MINI Cooper SE.

An EV Unlike any Other

While the marketplace certainly has no shortage of electric vehicles, finding the ones that manage to stand out with personality and uniqueness is sometimes harder than it may seem. The automotive industry is one that’s guided and governed by trends and common practices. When one vehicle comes out with a unique feature, drivetrain, or design, it’s only natural that the competing manufacturers will follow suit to meet the changing demands of drivers.

What we see in the MINI Cooper SE is a brand not only adapting to these changes but improving upon them in new and exciting ways. By offering its electric vehicle at a lower price than many gasoline-fueled options, MINI shows its willingness to compete in new markets. A host of features geared towards luxury and a design that matches the vehicle’s performance are bound to only improve as the years go by. While you might not have heard of the MINI Cooper SE before, you may want to take a test drive to experience this unique option for yourself.