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MINI Electric MINI Electric

Why switch to Electric now?

Who better to give us the inside scoop on MINI Electric than a Plant Oxforder? We’re joined by Quality and Engineering General Manager Tom Festa, who breaks down the reasons why now’s a great time to switch to electric.
Tom Festa standing by MINI Electric

The MINI DNA is all there.

After 17 years working at Plant Oxford, I get treated to the odd perk like driving one of the first ten MINI Electric production vehicles, before the official launch in the UK. There’s no better way to get to know a car than to live with it. To give it real customer and family use. And spoiler alert; I loved it.

“I can tell you the DNA of the lively go-kart MINI lives on in spades.”

When I got behind the wheel, I knew the Electric model was all MINI. The hallmarks were there: low centre of gravity (even lower than the other models), smooth acceleration and lively go-kart handling. In fact, accelerating is so effortless, I’d say it surpasses its combustion engine cousins.

 

Low servicing costs are a delight for drivers.

MINI Electric drivers will enjoy lower servicing costs compared to petrol and diesel cars. For one, the brake pad wear rate is so much lower. That’s because the electric motor braking system allows for energy to be regenerated back into the battery. There are also no spark plugs, oil or oil filters to change.

Batteries are more sophisticated.

The High Voltage batteries fitted inside MINI Electric are very different to the normal 12v battery which powers things like headlamps or the radio. In fact, its very chemistry and construct are different.

“MINI Electric (unlike our phones and tablets) has a sophisticated battery heat management system which ensures optimum performance as well as battery longevity.”

MINI Electric’s class-leading performance relies on maintaining the batteries at just the right temperature. Which is one of the reasons the underbody construction is so unique. It’s where the battery pack is fitted, with its sophisticated heat management system.

Key information.

Plant Oxford has never been better equipped.

My days revolve around analysing feedback from MINI production lines, making sure our future models in development continue to be engineered at the class-leading level MINI drivers expect.

“The transformation of our plant to a Zero Emissions vehicle manufacturer is our new reality.”

There are literally thousands of components and build processes to think about and review, with hundreds of engineers often working internationally. But it’s that sort of collaboration that breeds innovation, and the solutions to make MINI Electric happen.

We now build MINI Electric cars on the same production lines as conventional combustion engine MINIs. Which is rare in this industry. But it led to a multi-skilled team, with total flexibility.

 

Where the industry is moving.

The future of the car industry will be electric, without doubt. And I personally found living with MINI Electric an absolute joy. I can’t wait until it’s released onto our employee car scheme! There are so many reasons to drive electric, from environmental to cost-saving to performance. Why wouldn’t you?

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