What is it?
When discussing the UK debut of the new Mini Electric, the company’s Oxford bosses see no case for modesty. “We believe this launch will be a tipping point for the adoption of electric cars in this country,” declares David George, head of the marque.
At the UK launch event in Oxfordshire, there was a strong consensus that George is right. The Mini’s arrival in battery form will be a bigger market event than any of the other two dozen electric debuts this year – and arguably the biggest since the Jaguar I-Pace two years ago.
So far, the omens for the car’s success are excellent. Two thousand UK customers have placed orders before driving the car, and most have gone for the most expensive model. Electric production is already running at 10% of total Mini volume – around 500 units a week. And so far, the plant is not suffering the component problems that are dogging other battery car makers.
The company has adopted a new way of selling its electric model. There are just three equipment levels, each with a fixed specification and price, but within each, there’s a choice of colours, trim and wheel styles and personalisation touches. Even the Level One car is well equipped (LED headlights, climate air-con, a new-design digital dashboard, rain-sensing wipers and automatic lights).