How do electric cars work?

How do electric cars work? How do electric cars work?


It looks just like a MINI. And drives just like a MINI. So what is it that makes MINI Electric so different?

As a fully electric car, MINI Electric gets 100% of its power from the battery, instead of a combustion engine. Get the lowdown on how it all works below.


Electric cars work by receiving energy from the battery, which is converted into power by an electric motor. This power is used to drive the wheels. An electric motor generates more torque, and eliminates the need for a traditional transmission and so the power goes straight to the wheels for instant acceleration. The MINI Electric motor provides 135kW of power, which is equivalent to a max power output of 184 horsepower. This means 200 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels delivering smooth acceleration from 0-62mph in just 7.3 seconds.

Diagram of a MINI Electric car drivetrain and electric motor demonstrating how electric cars work


The high voltage lithium-ION battery (1) is arranged in a T-shape and positioned along the length of the vehicle floor. The centre of gravity is  much lower than with a petrol-powered MINI, for enhanced stability and agile handling.

The single electric motor (2) is located at the front and directly powers the front wheels. It produces the same power as a 2.0-litre, petrol-powered Cooper S.

The transmission and other integrated electronic systems (3) are located in the front under the bonnet of the new MINI Electric. The charging port (4) is located on the left side scuttle.

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If MINI Electric looks familiar from the outside, that’s because it uses the same chassis as the MINI Cooper S. But look closer at the signature front grille and you’ll notice an important difference. There’s no air intake, because the MINI Electric motor and batteries require very little cooling.


As well as slowing you down, the MINI Electric brakes can also help you extend the range. Thanks to regenerative breaking, when you lift off the accelerator your speed (kinetic energy) is converted back into electricity to top up the battery. With two different braking modes available, you can adjust the level of regenerative braking to suit your driving style.


MINI Electric’s battery is one of its weightiest components, which is why we had to think carefully about where best to place it. To maintain our famous go-kart handling we arranged the battery in a T-shape on the vehicle floor between the front seats and below the rear seats. The result? A low centre of gravity with even weight distribution. Perfect.


Relax and charge up MINI Electric from the comfort of home using a standard domestic socket or from a wall-mounted charger. Away from home, charge by using fast charging units commonly found at motorway service stations and on main routes. MINI Electric is equipped with both of the charging cables you need for topping up at home or away.
Difference between full electric and hybrid


MINI Electric is a full electric car, which means it doesn’t require any fuel or oil, and produces zero emissions. Hybrid cars, on the other hand, use an electric motor as well as a conventional engine. However, they can be heavier, require more parts and still produce emissions.


We’re so sure you won’t want to hand the keys back after a quick spin that we’re offering you a MINI Electric test drive. That should give you plenty of time to experience the feel-good benefits of switching to electric – like instant torque, go-kart handling, and mile upon mile of zero-emissions driving. So take it out, see how easy electric is and wave goodbye to petrol pumps forever. Available at participating retailers only.

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