Even if a Mini is a third car for most owners, as Mini spokesman Andrew Cutler told me, the limited range and rough ride quality limit it to duty as a city car or suburban runabout, as long as you have access to a plug and live in a sunny area with few potholes.
The Mini Cooper SE three-door hatch uses a 32.6-kwh lithium ion battery to power punch it’s way to 110 miles. In sport mode, its 199 pound-feet of torque can spin the front wheels off the line, and the thrust is gut-dropping and grin-inducing. Mini quotes a 0-60 mph time of 6.9 seconds, but the first 30 mph is particularly fun.
Crowning a winner in this test would be much more difficult if there weren’t such a large disparity in range and practicality between the two.
The Renault is slightly more expensive, but it’s hard to argue with its larger boot, better rear-seat access and much more practical range. The MINI is more fun to drive and has brand cachet on its side, but it’s best reserved for those who don’t need their electric car to do much more than a week’s worth of inner-city commuting or shopping on a single charge…
Note: The Mini Electric is marketed as the Mini Cooper SE in some markets.