Author Topic: To EV or not to EV, that is the question....  (Read 663 times)

Offline Splashalot

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Re: To EV or not to EV, that is the question....
« Reply #20 on: 21 November 2021, 05:18 »
I thought I'd chime in with some of our experiences of the Mini Cooper SE whilst the 7.5 GTI memories are still fresh in my mind.  Apologies in advance for the long and somewhat disjointed post. 

Executive Summary: 
Some disappointing safety and  convenience feature omissions compared to my 7.5 Golf GTI, and especially disappointing given the steep price.
Superb driving dynamics with at times brutal power, responsive handling and well-judged ride.
Heaps of character.  Easy to fall in love with.  Individuality.
Cheap as chips to run.  Even cheaper if you have rooftop solar.


Negatives:
* cannot sync the two temperature adjustment dials
* lack of rear cross traffic alert
* AEB is “city” only – as best I can ascertain auto braking operates only between 10-50kmh.  This is disappointing to learn post-sale and had I known this it may have impacted on our purchasing decision.
* Rear view camera is only half the 8” display, and is distorted into portrait mode – too small.
* L-hand mirror dipping is a fixed position, which cannot be adjusted
* Given the pricing of this car, the fairly ordinary level of active safety equipment is disappointing.
* Only 3 years of warranty.

Positives:
* Has the puppy-dog playfulness of the Mk5 GTI, but dialled up to 11
* Weighty and feelsome controls – feels solid and hewn from one billet of solid steel – clunky door closing aside.
* Steering is brilliant – superbly accurate and with actual feel – very reminiscent of the mk5 GTI
* Turn-in is instant and flat
* Haven't got near finding the handling limits yet.
* Comes std with decent tyres - Goodyear Eagle F1 runflats.  As an aside, I'm loving them so far – no negatives to speak of.
* 50/50 front/rear weight balance and 1.5” lower centre of gravity than the petrol Cooper S gives a superbly planted, balanced feel, even at low speeds
* Ride is surprisingly good.  Firm, but pliant at 32psi.  No jiggliness or crashiness.  Occasional pitch from the rear over humps or sharp undulations, but otherwise surprisingly settled for a small car with such a sporty drive

Comments:
At this early stage I'm finding the Mini more difficult than a combustion engine car to maintain constant speed on undulating roads.  A tad more throttle and you're a few kmh over where you want to be.  A slight easing and you're a few kmh under. 

The overall feel of the Cooper SE is of playful, responsive and fun to drive car. Surprisingly, it is loaded with character and charm, which is definitely not what I was expecting from an electric vehicle.  Lack of engine note aside, all sporty and fun attributes are amplified over the 7.5 GTI.

The rolling response at times borders on brutal.  The performance completely belies the ~138kw/268nm (from memory) figures.  It feels way, way gruntier than those figures would suggest.  Kerb weight is 1440kg, so pretty similar to my 7.5 GTI, yet the Mini feels considerably more grunty and responsive, despite the lower power and torque figures.

Regenerative braking is two setting: the  lower having 1.1g and the higher 1.9g.  In effect, the difference feels more marked.  The lower setting feels like strong engine braking from an ICE car.  The upper setting is strong enough to pitch you forward in your seat if you lift off completely. 

The throttle is quite heavy and long travel, I guess to aid smooth power and regen delivery. I've found that you really need to have weight into the throttle at all times, other than when in full regen braking.  It's just a matter of how hard you're pressing the throttle which modulates acceleration or braking.  This takes a few days to master and commit to muscle memory.  It also results in some “whoa!” moments next time you drive a combustion engine car and lift off the throttle expecting strong braking and nothing happens!  Takes a few corners to recalibrate your judgement.

If test driving one of these and new to EVs, I'd recommend starting in the “Green” mode, which makes both power delivery and regen braking tip-in more gradual and easy to modulate.

Charging and running costs:
This will of course depend on whether you have access to off-street parking for charging, your electricity tariff costs and also whether or not you have rooftop solar.  But in the couple of weeks we've owned the Mini it has never been below 50% charged.  After each trip (usually one a day) I plug it in and leave it to trickle charge utilising part grid, mostly solar electricity.  Full charge from empty to full using the Zappi smart 7kw wall box is ~4hrs.  Trickle charge around 12hrs. 

I estimate that the I can recharge the Mini for between $10 and $15au on mostly off-peak grid power, with minimal solar input.  The equivalent tank of 98ron premium petrol for the Golf GTI would cost between $80 and $100au, depending on petrol prices.  We're currently making some changes to our solar array which I'm hoping will enable 100% solar charging of the Mini for at least 6 months of the year. The Winter months we'll charge overnight on cheap off-peak rates.

Summary:
* Way more fun to drive than I was expecting.  I genuinely feel I've lost nothing (apart from engine note) in driving enjoyment over the GTI, but have picked up meagre running costs and charm.  Safety omissions aside, I'd buy it again in a heartbeat.
« Last Edit: 21 November 2021, 05:30 by Splashalot »
1972 Turquoise Superbug S; 1978 Miami Blue Golf GLS; 2007 Mk5 Tornado Red Golf GTI; 2017 Golf 7.5 Trendline Tungsten Silver 1.4ltr 110TSi with DAP; 2018 Tornado Red GTI with DAP.  All MT.  Current: Mini Cooper SE, British racing green.

Offline fredgroves

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Re: To EV or not to EV, that is the question....
« Reply #21 on: 21 November 2021, 09:37 »
Interesting read!

The modern mini is still a bit of a tech dinosaur compared to even a mk7.5 golf. Vw were very much ahead of the game with the tech on the mk7 series.

I'm still waiting to test drive the mini, probably not until mid next year as have some other projects to sort before that.
Current: Mk8 GTI DSG, Adelaides, DCC, HUD, HK, Winter Pack, Rear Camera.. Aka "HMS Weasel"

Gone: 2017 Mk7.5 GTD,manual, NavPro
Gone: 2014 Mk7 GTD, manual, NavPro, DCC

Offline Exonian

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Re: To EV or not to EV, that is the question....
« Reply #22 on: 21 November 2021, 23:03 »
An excellent review as ever Splashalot

I think I reached my peak maturity at 8 years old and haven’t developed further from that so it’s Sport mode or nothing for me! Just the sheer thrust on instant demand would keep the child in me fully entertained all of the time, especially knowing I wasn’t burning expensive fossil fuels (directly) every time I hit the ‘go’ pedal.

A very good point you made about maintaining a steady speed. A good friend of mine did remark that he found electric cars wearing on longer journeys due to the need to apply constant pressure on the pedal. Skilled use of cruise control would help but I’m not a fan of cruise control. Which brings me on to the seemingly slightly outdated safety tech on the MINI E. I actually find that ok, I still regularly drive vehicles with no radar or camera controlled safety features as well as a Golf daily driver that is loaded with nanny tech. I do like being in full control but am probably in the minority these days. I think, for me at least, the MINI has a decent blend of modern tech yet still has plenty of old skool too. Proper buttons and switches for example that are married to an ultra modern power train. It all adds to the fun factor for me.

I’m really pleased you are indeed finding it so much fun. There are many ways a car can be satisfying to own but it’s driving fun that really endears a car into the heart of an owner.

2020 GTI Clubsport
Prior to that a couple dozen other warmed over VWs


Offline Exonian

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Re: To EV or not to EV, that is the question....
« Reply #23 on: 23 November 2021, 14:00 »
Boy did I wish I had a MINI EV this morning at 5am when I was greeted with a layer of ice on the windscreen and and a whole bunch of non working techy things that had taken umbrage at the cold.
A lovely preconditioned cabin and clear glass should have been heavenly.
2020 GTI Clubsport
Prior to that a couple dozen other warmed over VWs


Offline SRGTD

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Re: To EV or not to EV, that is the question....
« Reply #24 on: 23 November 2021, 17:24 »
Great review @Splashalot.

I’ve spent some time researching the Mini EV and I really do like it. I could live with the shortcomings that you’ve highlighted and if I did take the plunge and get one (I have thought about it quite a lot over the last few weeks, but I must resist! :grin:) I’ll have gone full circle as my first car was a Mini - albeit an unreliable, 1970 British Leyland version. Range anxiety, poor public charging facilities, and finding a working charge point are my major concerns, but hopefully that will improve over the next few years, and I dare say there’ll be advances in battery technology too.

Give it a couple of years, and I may have one sitting in my garage :smiley:.
2020 Polo GTI Plus; Pure White, DSG (because they all are)
Gone but not forgotten;
2016 Polo GTI; Blue Silk
2011 mk6 Golf GTD; Carbon Grey
2007 mk5 Golf GT (2.0 170bhp TDI version); Deep Black Pearl
2002  mk4 Golf GTI (the 150 bhp diesel version); Deep Black Pearl

Offline Splashalot

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Re: To EV or not to EV, that is the question....
« Reply #25 on: 23 November 2021, 23:33 »
Boy did I wish I had a MINI EV this morning at 5am when I was greeted with a layer of ice on the windscreen and and a whole bunch of non working techy things that had taken umbrage at the cold.
A lovely preconditioned cabin and clear glass should have been heavenly.

I'm rather taken with the Mini App, which allows pre-heating and cooling, finding the vehicle if lost in a carpark, tracking and a few other party tricks.

Actually, that raises a related point - it's rather nice to be able to get into the car stone cold and just drive off how I fancy, without the need for mechanical sympathy whilst the oily bits get up to temp.  That is, with my pants on fire if the mood takes me.  In all seriousness, we live on a fairly busy road, so often have to pull out into 60kmh traffic and get up to speed quickly - and uphill, too. 

One other fact worth mentioning regarding the Mini: the seats.  They're firm.  Very firm.  Shapely and supportive (and for me, comfy), but firm.  Thought I'd mention this after Fred's BMW seat experiences - might be an important consideration for some.
1972 Turquoise Superbug S; 1978 Miami Blue Golf GLS; 2007 Mk5 Tornado Red Golf GTI; 2017 Golf 7.5 Trendline Tungsten Silver 1.4ltr 110TSi with DAP; 2018 Tornado Red GTI with DAP.  All MT.  Current: Mini Cooper SE, British racing green.

Offline Snoopy

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Re: To EV or not to EV, that is the question....
« Reply #26 on: 24 November 2021, 07:57 »
Thanks for the updates they are very useful.
I do keep thinking about a MINI Cooper SE.
Like the previous poster my first car I ever bought was a mini (I still have it) and the car I passed my test in was a mini cooper. I was actually a mini fan before I was a GTI
one so a mini does really appeal.
The lack of tech I actually prefer. First thing I do in modern cars when I get in is turn most of it off. So thats not an issue for me. The reduction of practicality is probably the only real stumbling block and maybe the thought the new MINI is due at some point. Im also told I just don't like spending money  :grin:
« Last Edit: 24 November 2021, 08:10 by Snoopy »
Garage:    Mk6 GTI    Mk1 GTI    Mk1 Leon   Mk1 Mini   GRYaris

Offline fredgroves

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Re: To EV or not to EV, that is the question....
« Reply #27 on: 24 November 2021, 10:20 »
One other fact worth mentioning regarding the Mini: the seats.  They're firm.  Very firm.  Shapely and supportive (and for me, comfy), but firm.  Thought I'd mention this after Fred's BMW seat experiences - might be an important consideration for some.

Yes, Mini's are like that - its my pet hate. I wasn't surprised when the Mini-FatBoi (aka the F40 1 series) suffered from the same problems unless you spec'ed M-sport seats.

Its the one thing I really hate about F series Mini/BMW and why realistically I'd not be able to use one for my main car - a run around would be ok, so a Mini Electric wouldn't be drama.

Current: Mk8 GTI DSG, Adelaides, DCC, HUD, HK, Winter Pack, Rear Camera.. Aka "HMS Weasel"

Gone: 2017 Mk7.5 GTD,manual, NavPro
Gone: 2014 Mk7 GTD, manual, NavPro, DCC