MINI Unveils New Roof Tent For Its All-Electric Cooper SE

Why would anyone want to take an all-electric MINI on a camping trip is another question altogether. 

Whenever one thinks of MINI, it is typically an urban-centric runabout that would come straight to mind. This is perhaps particularly true of its electric variants, which are almost exclusively bought by city dwellers. 

MINI themselves however in recent time  seem to think that they have become somehow Land Rover. Not least because they’ve long been promoting the wonders of adventure (during a pandemic), but they’ve more recently also actually introduced a roof top tent that can be fitted to its Cooper SE all-electric hatchback. 

Rather surprisingly for such a lengthy press release provided, details regarding the tent on offer vague to say the least. Further digging however reveals that this new factory accessory was specially designed by Italian manufacturer Autohome, which incidentally also did the tent on the MINI Cooper SE Countryman All4 PHEV crossover previously.  

Mounted atop the MINI’s standard roof rails with a matching carrier system, the erection of this ‘mobile night quarters’ is done simply by releasing the safety catches on the housing and waiting for the integrated gas struts to reveal the eventual triangular structure. Once fully erected, the automaker claims that this snug quarters is nevertheless sufficient for two adventurers to have a good night’s rest in the great outdoors. 

Aside from the double bed, there are actually also some other creature comforts that have been integrated within this mobile roof tent, like windows with integrated mosquito nets to keep the bugs out while letting some fresh air in for instance. Other niceties with this petite bed-in-a-box includes LED interior lights, storage nets and an eight-rung aluminium ladder to aide ingress and egress to the sleeping quarters atop the MINI. 

It is worth noting too that MINI is adamant that this fibreglass addition to the roof of one’s all-electric hatchback will not negatively affect its aerodynamic properties due to its slippery, low-profile silhouette. The British automaker apparently claims that its driving dynamics have also not been compromised in anyway, as the extra weight added up top is compensated for by the EV’s hefty batteries that are situated low down within the car. 

Speaking of the added heft of this roof tent, exactly how much it actually weighs is still a mystery at the moment. MINI has also remained mum about the price of this roof tent thus far, though it could reasonably be expected for it to cost around the same as the €3,392 (RM 17,000) that the tent on the Countryman is currently retailing for. 

Considerably more than a tent that one can get from any respectable outdoor adventure gear retailer, this roof tent is apparently currently on sale in Europe through the MINI Original Accessories range. I say apparently, because none of the online European MINI sites actually acknowledges the existence of this product. 

To be fair though, this is perhaps for the best as who would actually think that going camping an all-electric MINI is a good idea? Where exactly is anyone going to take their two-wheel drive EV with a limited range if not exclusively on paved roads that is not too far from a charge point. 

Besides, the same amount of money as that roof tent could net many, many nights in hotels where there are such things as electricity and running water. And while it may not be the most outdoorsy thing in the world, the MINI ain’t exactly the most outdoorsy car in the world either. 

PRESS RELEASE: Holidays in the region and journeys of discovery through the local countryside will continue to be high on the list of priorities for many people seeking relaxation in the summer of 2021. The desire to relax in nature also inspires a preference for camping. These holiday trends are beneficial for the eco-balance, especially when they are combined with sustainable mobility. MINI has two models with electrified drive and matching optional equipment on offer for all those who want to be both flexible and particularly efficient on the road: the MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 with plug-in hybrid system and the purely electrically driven MINI Cooper SE. Equipped in each case with model-specific carrier systems from the MINI Original Accessories range and a roof tent, they form the greenest camper fleet in the world.

With its hybrid-specific all-wheel drive and a system output of 162 kW/220 hp, the MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 is ideally equipped for excursions into the countryside. With the ALL4 Trim or Classic Plus Package, its equipment is supplemented by a roof rail, among other things. A roof tent can be easily mounted on the roof rails with the appropriate railing rack.

The MINI Cooper SE can be equipped with mobile night quarters in the same way. The purely electrically powered small car is the only model in its competitive field that can also be equipped with roof rails. The matching carrier system can be found in the MINI Original Accessories range. And you’re ready to go. The MINI Cooper SE carries the roof tent swiftly across the country: thanks to the aerodynamically optimised profile of its body, the roof tent does not noticeably restrict the temperament of the 135 kW/184 hp MINI Cooper SE, which can sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds. The MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 is just as relaxed about the increase in power. As a robust all-rounder, it also masters its role as a touring vehicle with flying colours.

On a joint camping trip, the two electrified models reveal their qualities each in their own way. According to the WLTP test cycle, the MINI Cooper SE has a range of 203 to 234 kilometres. The electric range of the MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 is up to 59 kilometres. However, it can use the intelligently controlled interaction of the combustion engine and electric motor to replenish the energy reserves of its high-voltage battery on the road.

On winding country roads, there is a lot of driving pleasure. The battery, which is located low to the ground in both models, also contributes to this, shifting the vehicle’s centre of gravity downwards and thus ensuring even more agility. The MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4, together with the MINI Cooper SE, rolls onto the camping site so quietly that even the crackling of twigs under the tyres can be heard.

The cautious approach signals respect for nature. Those who not only hike or cycle there, but also spend the night afterwards, experience it even more intensively – and can enjoy the view of the landscape from their sleeping place in the roof tent. Discovering the world from above – that’s even possible from the roof of a MINI.

The shelter can be erected at dizzy heights within a few seconds. After releasing the safety catches on the housing, the tent structure lifts up automatically with the help of gas springs. The eight rungs of the fold-out aluminium ladder can be climbed just as quickly. Inside, there are two comfortable sleeping berths. In summer heat, the windows can be rolled up, and thanks to the mosquito nets in front of them, no pests can get inside.

Sleeping bags, luggage and provisions for longer camping trips for two can be stored in the luggage compartment of the MINI Cooper SE, which can be expanded from 211 to 731 litres after folding down the rear seat backrest. This provides the same stowage volume as in the conventionally powered model variants of the MINI 3-door. The MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4, with its five doors, five fully-fledged seats and a luggage compartment volume of 405 to 1 275 litres, is a true all-rounder in the premium compact segment.

There is therefore also enough space for all kinds of holiday companions that add a touch of comfort to the simple life in the midst of nature. A glance at the digital cockpit display of the MINI Cooper SE and the MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 reveals that there is no lack of energy. The charge level of the high-voltage batteries is still well within the green zone. If you have a cool box on board, you can enjoy a chilled drink. The audio system plays subtle music. There is also more than enough power to charge the smartphone. When a mobile espresso machine is added, the threshold from camping to glamping is finally crossed.

And if the energy reserves do run low, this is no problem either. Many campsites are now equipped with charging points. So nature lovers can enjoy the beauty of the landscape on a hiking tour without worrying, while their electrified MINI charges up fresh energy to complete the onward journey to the next campsite or the drive home in the most sustainable way possible.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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