Spyshots have shown that the BMW Group is developing an update for the MINI Electric (MINI Cooper SE), and the first of these prototypes have started testing in China, where the model is due to be introduced in 2022. BMW will manufacture the MINI Cooper SE at a new plant in the Jiangsu province along with Chinese car company Great Wall Motors (incidentally Great Wall Motors’ plan to launch in the Indian market is currently delayed to FY 2023).
Spyshots of the 2022 MINI Cooper SE (MINI electric facelift) reveal a different design for the wing mirrors and bootlid of the electric car. The BMW Group is known for its subtle execution of mid-life updates on its products, and the MINI range is no exception. We expect minor changes to the bumpers of the 2022 MINI electric to round up the design updates.
However, where the update could extend a step further could be to the electric drivetrain of the MINI Cooper SE. Since battery technology and power management are constantly changing (unlike internal combustion engines and gearboxes), we expect the MINI electric to see improvements to its modest net/gross battery pack of 28.9 kWh/32.6 kWh.
Where the current MINI electric has a 235-270 km range in the WLTP cycle, the 2022 update could bring improvements in the order of 10 per cent at least, thus taking the range towards the 300 km mark. And where presently a 50 kW charger is capable of fast charging the small battery electric vehicle in just 1 hour 24 minutes, the facelift could see this improved to an 80 kW (400V) fast charger, which could bring down the time to less than 60 minutes. Note that this is all speculation at this time but it has to be the direction the BMW Group is heading in given the spade of new launches from competitors in the coming years.
The BMW Group has maintained that once charging infrastructure improves in India, it will be ready to launch its electric cars and SUVs, including the MINI Cooper SE. BMW India’s President, Vikram Pawah, was quoted telling a newspaper that the company would bring electric cars to India when it was sure customers could drive between cities (like Delhi and Jaipur for example) without the worry of running out of charge.
While the Indian government has big plans for setting up an extensive charging network (with at least one charger planned at each of the 69,000 fuel outlets in the country), the infrastructure heavy process will take significant time, and in the meantime, it is the long range of electric vehicles which give confidence to early adopters of EVs. A longer range MINI electric, localized at BMW India’s Chennai plant, would compete with the upcoming Volvo XC40 Recharge, which is announced for an Indian launch in the second half of 2021.