We Sold A Tesla Model Y & Bought The Cheapest New EV (A MINI Cooper SE): Will It Road Trip?

The numbers paint the Mini more as a city car — at least on paper

2022 Mini Cooper SE
The first shot of our 2022 Mini Cooper SE — it’s a fun little EV, but can this car hack it on an actual road trip? (Image: TFLcar)

Can the latest 2022 Mini Cooper SE handle a decently long road trip?

Here in the TFL office, we’ve ran the gamut of Tesla’s current lineup, through the Model 3 to the Model X, then the Model Y. After a year-long stint, it’s time to say goodbye to Tesla for now — but that doesn’t mean we’re giving up on EVs. In fact, Roman and Tommy decided to pick up the least expensive EV you can currently buy (at $30,750 to start including destination): the Mini Cooper SE.

Now, spec up the all-electric Mini hardtop through the Signature or Iconic trims then fiddle with the available options, and it’s easy to push this small car up into a higher price point. That said, the base model is comparably priced to the standard Nissan Leaf, not to mention having a more playful disposition. Trouble is, with just an EPA-rated 110-mile range, the Mini Cooper SE may struggle on a longer road trip. Or will it? To find out, the guys take our new electric Mini on a nearly 500-mile excursion from Sandia Mini in Albuquerque, New Mexico back to our HQ in Boulder, Colorado.

Our Mini, by the numbers

Fortunately, the Mini Cooper SE does support DC fast charging up to 50 kW. Not the fastest by a long shot, but some form of rapid charging does at least beat waiting ages to top up the battery on a 7.2-kW Level 2 AC charger. Mind you, fast-charging any EV is always quickest between about 10 percent and 80 percent State-of-Charge (SoC). Outside that range, the charging time will increase dramatically as it ramps up then comes back down when the battery is near 100%. With 181 horsepower on tap, Mini says the electric model should run from 0-60 in 6.9 seconds.

All in, our $37,500 Mini Cooper SE (before manufacturer incentives and tax rebates) did eventually make it back to our base, as you’d expect. Along the way, Roman and Tommy had to drive to conserve energy between Electrify America charging stations — and experienced one error when they arrived in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Some stations actually had “slow as hell” written on sticky notes, as posted by other users. For their part, Electrify America did comment on that issue in some areas, saying they are “working on enhancements”.

While they did manage to make it back to Boulder, it did take quite awhile longer than a conventional internal combustion car or even a longer-range EV. So, it’s something to keep in mind if you’re shopping a Mini Cooper SE, but it’s still a smile-inducing city car nonetheless. Overall, the guys went 484.1 miles, and spent $21.69 on electricity.

Check out the entire trip in the video below: