Australians can buy hybrid Mini EV next year

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BMW Group has confirmed Australian arrival of MINI Countryman plug-in hybrid EV in second quarter of 2019.

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MINI Countryman PHEV. Image: Supplied

It’s official – the wait is almost over. Well, that is if you are a fan of iconic British brand Mini and committed to electric mobility.

BMW Group has on Friday confirmed introduction of the MINI Countryman S E All4 PHEV, in the second quarter of 2019.

The news comes just months after MINI Australia product planning manager Daniel Silverwood promised a Q3 confirmation on the date of arrival of a MINI PHEV on Australian shores.

At the time, at the launch of the BMW i3 in Warrandyte, Silverwood admitted there were already a few in the country.

“We’re taking a fairly cautious and measured approach to introduction in Australia. We’ve got a couple of cars here,” he said.

The news comes hot on the heels of the release of sketches for an all-electric MINI Countryman, which will go into production next year in Britain and China.

Powered by a 3-cylinder turbo petrol engine and synchronous electric motor, the Countryman PHEV has a top speed of 125km/h, electric range of 40km and 165kW output.

The instantly recognisable MINI E badge. Source: MINI Australia

The plug-in hybrid is the first of its kind to sport a MINI badge and carries its 7.6kWh capacity battery back under the rear seat.

MINI says the battery can be charged in 3 hours and 15 minutes through a standard home socket, or this can be reduced to 2 hours and 15 minutes using a MINI Wallbox.

In addition to being able to charge the battery at the wall, a SAVE BATTERY mode shunts power to the combustion engine allowing the battery to recharge while on the move.

While MINI states that top speeds of 125km/h are possible in the Countryman PHEV, this is only running on petrol. In pure electric mode, drivers can expect 80km/h.

To ensure the driver gets the best of both worlds, MINI have kitted out the plug-in hybrid with an ‘eDrive’ switch which allows the driver to toggle between driving modes to get the most out of the car’s performance and efficiency.

MINI are offering a six year, 100,000 warranty on the battery and two servicing packages. Basic packages will get owners 5 years of scheduled services only, with Plus owners benefitting from ‘additional selected maintenance items’.

Unfortunately, if you’re wondering how much a Countryman PHEV will set you back once it reaches Australian shores, you’ll have to wait a little longer – MINI are not letting that cat out of the bag until we get a little closer to an Australian launch.

However with the Countryman PHEV falling somewhere between the Cooper SD All4 and JCW All4 in the Countryman range, we’re guessing it will be somewhere in the vicinity of $A53,900 and $A59,900, not including on-road costs.

Those after a 100 per cent electric MINI, meanwhile, are still no wiser as to when that will hit our shores. But a spokesman for the company said the commitment to the delivery of a MINI PHEV “signposts the group’s commitment to alternative propulsion.”

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15 Comments
  1. MaxG 4 months ago

    I never understood why anyone would bother with a PHEV.

    It’s half-arse; neither here nor there… (maybe I can be enlightened?!)
    It’s almost like getting around some EU city restrictions; e.g. drive in town on EV, and then poison the landscape in the country.

    • David Mitchell 4 months ago

      PHEVs are awesome. I drive an A3 etron. 40km EV range, normal petrol engine up the front with a 40L fuel tank. I almost never fill up round town. I get about 4,000 km a tank. Nearly all my city driving is EV only unless the journey is longer than 35km. Charging is 2.5 hrs, takes 20 seconds to plug/unplug. So multiple trips a day on EV only.

      When I go for a long drive I use a hybrid mode. FF engine runs at constant revs and the battery supplies any extra oomph to go up hills, down hills the engine switches off. A typical Adelaide – Melbourne trip is 800 km. I start with a full battery and and arrive in Melbourne having done about 200km equivalent as EV kms. Fuel economy is 5.5L/100km for a 1600kg car. Not too shabby.

      My PHEV was a deliberate choice. I was too lazy (and poor) to buy a full EV and worry about charging anywhere except at home, the PHEV has worked better than I could have imagined.

      • MaxG 4 months ago

        Thank you for giving me an example! (I do appreciate it.)

        However (sorry for that), if I were to drive 800km, I would have a break, which I’d use to recharge. So, an EV with 400km range would allow for this — but get, that you can recharge anytime / anywhere.

        I do (depending on were the work is), 200-300km per day… which could be, and most likely will be covered by an EV in the future. At present my 1.9t car uses 7.6l/100km… I would have to figure out the extra cost for the “E” component for this to make more sense to me.
        But, I also recognise that both our use cases are not representing the majority of distances covered.

    • Peter Campbell 4 months ago

      I have a pure battery EV but its range is only about 95km – 2012 iMiEV. We also have a PHEV Holden Volt. Its purely electric range is 55km in a cold Canberra winter and 75km in summer. Consequently, our household only ever uses petrol on trips out of town.
      For trips out of town in the Volt, the first bit is pure electric so petrol use over the trip is reduced, and it runs efficiently anyway once the battery is depleted because it can regenerate down hills and use its petrol motor to drive a generator at optimal settings rather than constantly varying throttle positions.
      In the fullness of time, it will be nice to have a long range EV with ample fast charging facilities. For now, a short range EV plus a PHEV lets us avoid most of our petrol usage. On a combination of local and extra-urban trips, the Volt is averaging 2.2L/100km since we got it.
      The PHEV Volt was bought used early this year, which made it affordable.

    • Charles 4 months ago

      Some people for cost or practicality reasons cannot get a full EV. We have a Leaf but are a two-car household so we can comfortably get a 100km EV without limiting our ability to travel long distances using the other car if required. If a single car household wants to move to electric, they need to buy a Tesla S or X (out of many people’s price range) or compromise on the ability to travel long distances.
      A PHEV is ideal for people in this situation. They cost only slightly more than a full petrol/diesel, they drive on full electric around town, but are able to use the full range of a petrol vehicle if required.
      Soon 300-400km range EVs will be affordable and people won’t need to compromise! But then the PHEV gets “passed down” to someone new to electric driving and the cycle starts all over again 🙂

    • The_Lorax 4 months ago

      I own an Outlander PHEV. Cost me $30k new, it’s large enough to fit my giant teenagers, I can carry large loads when I need to, and I can drive from Brisbane to Sydney in a day. For $30k there are no EV options in Australia. $50k would buy me a micro car (Renault Zoe). For a family car I’m looking at a $120k Tesla. As others have said, I can drive for weeks without using the petrol motor. I can trickle charge the 50km battery range in a few hours from my solar PV (zero cost, zero carbon). My long term fuel consumption is around 2.5L/100km and I live in a rural area. So yeah, it makes sense.

  2. juxx0r 4 months ago

    It’s not a hybrid electric vehicle, it’s a hybrid petrol vehicle.

    • David Mitchell 4 months ago

      Disagree. Over the life of my vehicle over 50% of the km are electric. So it’s electric supported by fossil. Not the other way round.

      • Ian 4 months ago

        Its a chimera of batteryEV and ICE vehicle. Check the diagrams. For full torque you would need both the electric motor and the petrol motor driving the wheels, a gear system controls the flow of mechanical energy from the engine and motors to the wheels, ICE engine to Electric motor /generator or wheels to motor/ generator. All very ingenious. You would think all that complexity would add to the cost of the vehicle to a greater degree than just having a BEV with simple electric motor/generator and a big battery.

        • David Mitchell 4 months ago

          I love the way that people who don’t actually own or drive this car mansplain it to me all the time (who does own and drive it). Yes, the engine is a very interesting chimera. However, it is not a fossil engine powering an electric generator as you describe. It can operate as electric with no fossil, but not fossil with no electric.

          All the torque is in the EV only mode and it comfortably reaches 130km/hr without fossil assistance. As for the cost, when I purchased it, it was the best option for what I wanted.

          • Ian 4 months ago

            No quarrel with you on this one, and yes PHEV can give you pure electric motoring up to the storage limit of the battery. My understanding is that the hybrid vehicles have planetary gear system and electronic controls that mix and match the different types of motor force ie electric and ICE to get optimal performance. Certainly that seems to be the case with the Toyota synergy drive. What? Does your car just have a small ICE engine coupled with a generator just for recharging the battery and another electric motor driving the wheels, sort of like a BEV with an onboard petrol GenSet and with no mechanical coupling between wheels and ICE?

            You said above that your car is an A3 etron.

          • David Mitchell 4 months ago

            Ian, thanks for the long and thoughtful reply. I am a man, under my real name too. But everyone knows what mansplaining is and I don’t see why one man can’t “splain” to another. I am definitely guilty of it myself.

            But to car. Yes, your description of the EV/fossil battery is correct. As for running with a “flat battery”, the software won’t let you run on EV only below a certain point. So there is always residual charge in the battery, in fact the engine charges it up for you if it gets too low.

            I try and avoid comparing the price of an EV version of a car to the fossil model. It’s a false comparison. I wouldn’t have bought a FF A3 (batshit boring), but I did want some sort of EV. The choices were very limited, Leaf (nah), BMW i3 (expensive, looks like a spaceship) Tesla (I wish) and the A3 etron (looks like a normal car, cut a good deal). EV’s should be compared to other EVs. If we all bought cars on price only, the road would be full of Suzuki Swifts and Hyundai i30’s. But its full of Audi’s, BMW’s and Range Rovers. Money is not an issue.

            I used to drive around with the charger in the boot when I went on long distance trips, too much hassle. Now I don’t bother. The engine charges up the battery on the freeway in 30 minutes. So I start with a full charge, drive out of the city, switch to hybrid, recharge a couple of times when the battery gets low using the engine and then once again just before I hit city limits at the other end, then on full EV through the city to destination.

            What would I buy now. Excellent question. I seriously think it would be better to ditch the car all together and use GoGet and Uber. But I’d happily buy a full EV now. So long as I can get 300-400km, I’d just organise myself around stopping to charge.

            And the best thing of all about driving a PHEV is that I never think about the price of petrol. never. It is a complete irrelevance. It’s strangely liberating.

  3. Andy Bowe 4 months ago

    My issue is manufacturers want hybrids over full EV as they get to continue building engines, spares, servicing etc. ICE hybrids are more complex than full EV and this means Motor Companies can keep the same structure going. We need to push for full EVs, 2000 plus less parts to build and maintain. Longer life expectancy.

  4. George Darroch 4 months ago

    How many kWh?

  5. Robert Comerford 4 months ago

    Another town car and damn expensive.. Maxes out at 80kph on battery….wow!?

Comments are closed.