All-New MINI Electric Launched In Malaysia, RM 218k EV

The leading questions are: Why launch an EV MINI here? And who exactly is the target buyer of this RM 218k EV hatchback?

Today saw the launch of the MINI Electric in Malaysia, bringing the total number of fully-electric EVs currently officially sold in Malaysia up to two. 

While the launch of another MINI variant isn’t exactly breaking news, the launch of this all-electric MINI will certainly catch the attention of the wider Malaysian motoring community. Mainly by generating the question why bring an EV MINI into Malaysia? 

For those who remember a time before the coronavirus pandemic, the MINI Electric was slated to be one of the hottest launches this year. Reviews of this EV MINI started trickling in during the months from around the world while most of the world was in lockdown, and the overall consensus to this all-electric hatchback was mostly positive. 

However, regardless of how good it is, how does it work in a Malaysian context with our virtually non-existent EV infrastructure? 

Let’s begin by judging the MINI Electric on its own merit first, and put aside the logistical issues of running an EV in Malaysia for the time being. At first glance, the MINI Electric can be mistaken for any other 3-door MINI. 

The shrouded grille with the E logo might give the game away, and so would probably the E-badging on the sides and the rear. But for all intents and purposes, this EV MINI is much like any other petrol powered MINI on Malaysian roads today, especially if painted in a more discrete colour than this ‘White Silver with Energetic Yellow’ combination of this launch model here. 

That being said, riding on new 17 inch alloys, you’ll probably notice that the Union Jack LED taillights on this MINI Electric is probably sitting higher than its petrol-powered counterpart. This is all because to fit the electric powertrain within the existing MINI architecture, the MINI Electric actually rides slightly higher than its emissions producing cousins. It is just thanks to the extended black plastic arches that fools the eye into thinking it is the same height as a normal MINI. 

Speaking of the electric powertrain, under the hood of the new MINI Electric is a single electric motor driving the front wheels through a single speed transmission. Producing a reasonable 184 hp and 270 Nm of torque, this 1440 kg EV hatchback is capable of a 0-100 km/h time in 7.3 seconds and up to a top speed of 150 km/h. 

As for the power supply to the sole electric motor, the MINI Electric is fitted with a 12-module T-shaped battery pack that lies mainly lies beneath the usual cozy rear seats of this 3-door hatchback. The capacity of said battery pack is 28.9 kWh, which yields a driving range of 234 km to 270 km, depending on which testing cycle you choose to believe. 

Moving on to the interior of the MINI electric, the interior of this EV hatchback much like the exterior is largely the same as its conventionally powered counterpart. The 8.8 inch central infotainment system with integrated Apple CarPlay is now joined by a new 5.5 inch digital instrument cluster and a heads up display in the MINI Electric. 

There are also certain MINI Electric exclusive touches like the MINI Electric cockpit fascia, MINI Electric velour floor mats, a yellow starter button and an electric-design gear selector. For the most part though it is the standard MINI affair with the 12 colour ambient lighting and the 12 speaker Harmon Kardon sound system, amongst other things. 

Speaking of the standard MINI affair, the boot of this EV MINI is typically small at only 211 litres with the ability to expand up to a still puny 731 litres. 

Now on to the topic of charging the all-electric MINI. On a conventional DC charger, the MINI Electric will charge to 80% from flat in just 36 minutes. MINI is also offering what they call a MINI Wallbox Plus that costs RM 6.5k+, which could be installed in your home and will be able to charge up your EV MINI to 80% in about two and a half hours. A similar time to what it would take using a public charging facility. And if all else fails, charging your MINI Electric from a conventional three-pin plug will take up to 12 hours to top the batteries up to 80%. 

This is the point where buyers shy away from the EV idea. There are two sides to the EV debate, for which will be explored in a future article. Suffice to say however, that although many don’t even come close to doing 200 km in a single trip, the charging infrastructure in Malaysia (or lack thereof) is still a major obstacle for buyers to embrace the EV lifestyle. 

And being priced at RM 218,381 (RM225,888 post-sales tax reduction), the new MINI Electric isn’t exactly cheap. At this price, there are certainly many tasty petrol-powered alternatives that may tempt buyers away from this electrified MINI. 

That leads to the question posed in the start of this story of who exactly is the target buyer of the MINI Electric? And why did MINI Malaysia bring it in in the first place? With that said, MINI Malaysia has claimed that they have already sold 5 of the 20 they allegedly brought into the country. 

So if you are one of the few still  interested in actually purchasing one of these EV MINIs, the MINI Electric will be available at all authorised MINI dealerships starting from the 26th of August 2020. 

More information can be found in the press release below: 

MINI, the most sophisticated compact premium automotive brand in Malaysia today introduced the New All-Electric MINI for the first time in Malaysia – further expanding the premium electrified segment of the MINI portfolio. 

 “As a brand set in the cornerstones of passion, MINI continues to deliver maximum thrilling driving excitement, while innovating to provide a more sustainable go-karting thrill in this generation. For the very first time and in celebrating MINI’s 61st Birthday, we are thrilled to bring this innovation into reality with the New All-Electric MINI. The New All-Electric MINI further expands the electrified line-up of MINI models here in Malaysia,” said Harald Hoelzl, Managing Director of BMW Group Malaysia.

“Since we introduced the first electrified MINI model in 2017 with the MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid, electrified MINIs have become a fan-favourite amongst MINIacs nationwide. In just 2019, MINI delivered close to 17,000 units of the MINI Countryman PHEV worldwide. This success drives our commitment towards electromobility even further, as it underlines the increasing shift towards electrified vehicles amongst MINIacs globally,” said Hoelzl.

The stylish minimalistic three-door hatch arrives with an electrifying new design language that sets the model apart in the MINI portfolio, while building upon the 60-year heritage of the MINI brand. The new three-door hatch is powered by the highly-powerful electric motor developed by the BMW Group that is capable of up to 184 HP and 270 Nm of torque – offering maximum thrill of the road without the carbon footprint.

The New All-Electric MINI can also be recharged up to 80% within just two and a half hours with the MINI Wallbox Plus. When driving, brake energy regeneration from decelerating the vehicle not only feeds back into the high-voltage battery but also allows for the vehicle to be driven using only a single pedal. The new three-door hatch is also the first MINI model to feature a 5.5-inch Digital Instrument Cluster for smoother accessibility to key driving information.

An electrifying appeal.

Identical in size to the MINI Cooper S, the New All-Electric MINI features a brand-new electrifying appearance that is accentuated by elements in the youthful Energetic Yellow offering. The vehicle arrives with the model-specific bumper and radiator grille in Vigorous Grey with yellow E-Badge. Grille blades will be available in two colours: Vigorous Grey or Energetic Yellow.

With the Lights package, the new three-door hatch is equipped with Matrix LED headlights and LED rear lights featuring the iconic Union Jack design. Along the sides, the New All-Electric MINI features adapted spats geometry, the E-Badge on the side scuttle, as well as aero-optimised mirror caps in either Black or Energetic Yellow. Interior and exterior mirrors with anti-dazzle function also equips the vehicle as standard. The new MINI rides on 17-inch wheels in the MINI Electric Power Spoke two-tone with run flat tyres.

Moving to the back, the New All-Electric MINI features a charging flap with embossed E-badge in the chosen body colour. The tailgate handle in Vigorous Grey grille contrast. The model badge and E-Badge with yellow accents are also fitted as standard to the new three-door hatch, along with the model-specific rear bumper with diffuser.

Maximum driving thrill, minimum carbon footprint.

The New All-Electric MINI Clubman is powered by the latest, highly powerful version of the synchronous electric motor developed by the BMW Group – a front-axle electric engine capable of 135kw/184HP, as well as a 12-module T-shaped battery unit with a net capacity of 28.9kWh. The New All-Electric MINI has a peak torque of 270Nm, and emits zero carbon emissions locally while consuming 16.8 – 14.8kWh per 100km of travel. 

The specific design principle of the drive enables a high level of power development, which extends also into high speed ranges. An exceptionally high level of efficiency coupled with smooth, low-vibration running power is already available from standstill – which is characteristic of electric motors.

Reaching a maximum speed of 150km/h and a driving range of up to 234km (WLTP) or 270km (NEDC), the New All-Electric MINI is also capable of achieving the century sprint in 7.3 seconds. The new three-door hatch will also be driven with a single-speed transmission and integrated differential that maximises the go-kart feeling familiar of a MINI. 

Powerful new features for the new MINI.

Part of the characteristic driving experience in the New All-Electric MINI is the single-pedal drive that also contributes to brake energy recovery. The electric motor functions as a generator during coasting mode, transforming kinetic energy into electric power – which then feeds back into the high-voltage battery within the vehicle. The New All-Electric MINI arrives with four driving modes: Sport, Mid, Green and the new Green+ mode – which increases the electric range by limiting selected comfort functions.

The New All-Electric MINI also features the actuator-contiguous wheel slip limiter (ARB) function which significantly improves traction by providing faster control. The function also reduces power understeering that usually occurs with front-wheel drive vehicles. The rear axle is configured to the front axle, which features electric-specific steering knuckles; this enables an electric-specific suspension setting in combination with the body-mounted wheelhouse liners.

MINI Electric – comfort and style.

The new three-door hatch offers an exquisite new interior design language, crafted exclusively for the New All-Electric MINI. The model-specific designs include the MINI Electric Cockpit Fascia, MINI Electric Start/Stop button in Yellow, MINI Electric velour floor mats, an electronic selector lever with Electric design, as well as the brake energy recuperation toggle. The interior rear-view mirror with anti-dazzle function also equips the MINI as standard.

Driver and passengers of the New All-Electric MINI are also able to relax in comfort and style with the dual-zone automatic air conditioning, Leather Cross Punch seats in Carbon Black as well as the MINI 12-Colour Illuminated ambient lighting. The multifunction sport leather steering wheel and raised center console with integrated electric parking brake are also available as standard to the vehicle. Maintaining the same dimensions as the MINI Cooper S, the luggage capacity of the new three-door hatch is also 211 litres with the ability to expand up to 731 litres. 

A wealth of navigational information is presented via a 8.8-inch MINI Navigation System equipped with the full MINI Connected suite which includes Teleservices, Remote Services, Intelligent Emergency Call, MINI Online and Apple Carplay. The vehicle is also equipped with the Head Up Display, and offers a premium music experience in the form of the 12-Speaker Harman Kardon Sound System. Endless in-car entertainment is enabled via the wireless charging function for mobile phones.

For the very first time in a MINI vehicle, the New All-Electric MINI arrives with a Digital Instrument Cluster – which is capable of displaying key information on the charging status of the vehicle such as remaining time, percentage of charge, available range and also temperature outside the vehicle. It can also display the current MINI Driving Mode, which then calibrates the colour shown on the light ring in the central instrument accordingly – red (SPORT mode), white (MID) or green (GREEN and GREEN+).

Additionally, the digital instrument cluster also presents the driver with information on traffic sign detection reports and high-guiding directions from the navigation system. Telephone contacts and audio programme lists can also be accessed via the system.

All electricity, no emissions.

The New All-Electric MINI offers a range of charging possibilities, whether at home or at a public charging facility. When recharging at a DC charging station, the New All-Electric MINI only requires approximately 36 minutes to go from zero to 80% charge. The MINI Wallbox Plus offers an 80% charge in just two and half hours, similar to recharging at a public charging station. At home, the MINI can be charged to 80% in 12 hours with the yellow contingency charging cable, available with the vehicle. The charging progress of the New All-Electric MINI can be viewed on the inside of the charging flap. 

The MINI eDrive is also a state-of-the-art technological addition to the New All-Electric MINI – giving the vehicle intelligent digital services and functions for a hassle-free drive. The Green Driving Assistant (GDA) provides useful onboard functionalities, such as the Range Assistant that presents different solutions to the driver in case of insufficient battery. It is able to suggest a more efficient route (Green Route), driving mode or the nearest charging station, so the driver can still arrive at their destination. The range circle also displays the range within the selected driving mode in the map.

Charging forward with intelligent assistance.

The MINI Connected app provides full transparency on the New All-Electric MINI’s status, and is able to also set a timer to ensure the vehicle is fully charged before the drive, as well as preconditioned to the set temperature while being charged. The app also displays personal driving statistics and tutorials to help improve the driver’s skills for efficient driving.

The New All-Electric MINI is also the first MINI model in Malaysia to be equipped with the Driving Assistant system. This camera-based driving assistance system package consists of the Speed Limit info, as well as the digital high-beam assistant which automatically activates at speeds of 50 km/h and higher, or when there is insufficient exterior lighting. 

The Driving Assistant system is also equipped with the person warning with light city braking function and the approach control warning with light city braking function – both ensuring maximum safety during potential collision by preconditioning the brakes for faster brake response and shorter braking distances. If the impact cannot be avoided, the braking functions help to reduce the impact speed.

The New All-Electric MINI is also equipped with the Park Assistant, front and rear Park Distance Control, Cruise Control with braking function, along with the Wired packages as standard.

Exterior colour offerings of the New All-Electric MINI include the exclusive White Silver with Energetic Yellow pairing, the British Racing Green, and the Chili Red. The New All-Electric MINI will be available at all authorised MINI dealerships nationwide from 26th August 2020.

Joshua Chin

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

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