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Australians can buy hybrid Mini EV next year

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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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  • MaxG

    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

      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

        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

      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

      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 🙂

  • juxx0r

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

    • David Mitchell

      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.

  • Andy Bowe

    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.

  • George Darroch

    How many kWh?

  • Robert Comerford

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