Could Mini be working on one?


Where are the electric convertibles?

It’s a niche that’s not at all represented in today’s market—and there hasn’t been a single new one since the Tesla Roadster.

Now Mini has hinted that it’s thinking about the possibility of an electric convertible that’s not only compact but affordable—perhaps as part of the “completely electrified model family” that it says will coexist with internal combustion models for some years. It’s created a one-off Mini Cooper SE Convertible that demonstrates, essentially, how the Mini Cooper SE could be translated into open-top form. And it’s bringing the model out to show Mini enthusiasts in a “Mini Takes the States” event running from Burlington, Vermont, to Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Using the body of the Mini Cooper S Convertible, the Cooper SE Convertible borrows the 184-hp electric motor from the Cooper SE hatchback, fitting the open car with a power soft top that can be activated at up to 19 mph. It offers an in-between sunroof mode as well.

Mini Cooper SE Convertible concept

Mini Cooper SE Convertible concept

Mini Cooper SE Convertible concept

Mini Cooper SE Convertible concept

Mini Cooper SE Convertible concept

So far, the car is strictly for show—and perhaps specifically, to show it’s possible. Mini hasn’t revealed what kind of special modifications the car required to compensate for all the extra weight of the battery pack, but the company hints that it’s seriously considering the idea in how it’s presented the specs.

It says that the Cooper SE Convertible will accelerate to 62 mph in 7.7 seconds; that’s about a second slower than the Cooper SE, but still quick enough when you’re low to the ground and open to the sky.

At a curb weight of just 3,144 pounds, the Cooper SE is already the lightest production electric passenger car sold in the US The gasoline Cooper S Convertible starts at 3,018 pounds, adding less than 200 pounds of additional weight versus the hardtop version. So we’d suspect a bit more bolstering for a SE Convertible might bring the curb weight around 3,400 pounds.

Mini Cooper SE Convertible concept

Mini Cooper SE Convertible concept

Mini points to a range of 143 miles (230 km) on the WLTP test cycle for the convertible, which is only slightly below that of the SE hardtop—so expect only slightly less than the EPA range of 114 miles if such a model were to be made.

At that, the Cooper SE Convertible would be a niche car and a minimalist effort, aimed at evening cruises and quick blasts out on country roads. But isn’t that what convertibles are all about anyway?

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