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Electric Launch For Mini

MINI charges up and ready to go

BY RORY DALEY
Observer writer
daleyr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, February 08, 2019


ATL Automotive unveiled the first in their MINI Electric line, the MINI Cooper Countryman S E ALL4, at their swanky Lady Musgrave Road showroom in St Andrew last Friday.
“We've been trying to look at a way to bring a more effective car into the country in terms of both performance and fuel efficiency. It's nice to have a car that can go 0 to 60mph in 6.8 seconds and return almost 129 mpg (miles per gallon). It sounds ridiculous, but that's what we were looking for, something that breaks the mould and pushes the consumer to stop thinking about the traditional car you'd currently buy,” Sloane Jackson, head of business — ATL Autobahn told the Jamaica Observer's Auto magazine.
ATL Autobahn is the division of ATL Automotive which responsible for BMW and the MINI marquee.
The MINI's impressive fuel efficiceny is due to it being a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). Under the bonnet is a 140bhp 1.5-litre petrol motor assisted by an 87bhp electric motor driving the rear wheels. This gives the MINI a total of 221bhp, nearing the numbers of the more hardcore John Cooper Works version. The other benefits of having the second motor and an electric one at that, is unparalleled fuel economy and all-wheel drive traction.
“The cool thing is that you still have the 1.5 from our best-selling Countryman, but now you have the electric power that makes it all-wheel drive. The typical model we sell is two-wheel drive, with the all-wheel drive it's very unique. The petrol engine powers the front wheels and the electric motor powers the rear wheels,” Jackson explained.
The Countryman PHEV has multiple drive modes, but the two key ones are in relation to its electric drivetrain. It can be operated on electric power alone at up to 126km/h with a 42-kilometre range from a full charge. When depleted, the MINI can be charged by the gas engine while being driven or a plug-in charger. Located near the passenger door is a small panel that can be opened to allow the vehicle to be connected to an external power supply for charging. The Countryman PHEV uses a 7.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack that can take just over three hours to charge from a household wall plug. Those wanting things a bit faster there is an optional MINI fast charging wallbox that will replenish the vehicle in just over two hours. Other modes split power between both engines trying to balance performance and efficiency.
“Even if you lose electric power you still have all-wheel drive.”
One significant element that deters many from electric vehicle ownership is the servicing and repair. Jackson said ATL Automotive has addressed that in spades.
“What a lot of people are afraid of is, are we equipped to handle the car? We've been, for the last 13 months, training, tooling, fitting everything in place to make this car come to Jamaica in the first place. Now that it's here, we're happy and we continue to train as we bring them in.”
According to Jackson, the MINI Cooper Countryman S E ALL4 expands what is already the brand's best-seller with the Countryman model representing 80 per cent of local sales across the past three years.