Electric cars - Should I swap my mini?

Published on 7 November 2023 at 13:08

Many of you that either know me or follow my antics will know that I drive a Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works. It's been modified, it has a Neo Bros turbo, front mounted inter cooler and a few other bits and pieces that make it rather nippy. And very loud. Anyway there has been much discussion and disagreement recently about EV's and the cost of running them so I thought I would look in to it a bit deeper and try and compare electric apples with petrol apples and see what the facts look like with the emotion taken out of the equation. I haven't bothered with comparing the diesel version, firstly because I don't have one and secondly because the figures I have seen are very inconsistent, I have seen figures of over 70 MPG quoted but real world figures seem to suggest the 50-55 mpg mark is more realistic. I have therefore used my own figures from my own car - it has been tuned and so is not running the standard fuelling map.

bearing that in mind my comparison is as follows :

Just had another look at electric cars, I found an interesting video where 2 guys had gone from lands end to John o'Groats, one in an electric Porsche, the other in a diesel BMW. I was shocked - sorry - to discover the publicly charged Porker ate 260 quids worth of electricity while the beemer sipped it's juice so frugally that 120 quids worth did the trick. I thought I would have a look at the electric mini and see how that would compare with Noisy Noddy if we had to do one of our trips down south. Firstly the electric mini is 32550, which is actually 6 grand cheaper than the John Cooper Works version but about 4 grand dearer than the base version so price wise I suppose it's not too bad. The problem comes when you look at range. It's about 160 miles to Basingstoke, a bit more if we have to go via the kennels to drop the dog off. The electric mini range on the motorway is a pathetic 80 miles. The very best it does is 170 miles but that is on a warm day and not at a 70 MPH cruising speed. Looking at current - sorry - tariffs it costs about 30 quid to charge at a fast public charger with a 49 kwh charge taking about 30 minutes. So to get me there and back I would need to charge 4 times, allow an extra 2 hours on my journey and expect to pay about 120 quid, assuming, of course, that the chargers are working, available and compatible with my car. Last time we went I filled Noddy before we left Boston , that took about 3 minutes. We went there and back and by the time we hit Boston the computer said we had about 60 miles range left, total price to fill was about 63 quid. Performance wise the electric mini is no slouch in terms of acceleration and the 93 mph top speed is well above the legal limit. The closest petrol model is the 1500 3 cylinder job that does the 0-60 in about 8.2 and tops out at 130. It will do about 50 to the gallon so the 350 mile round trip would burn 7 gallons and cost about 50 quid. Noisy Noddy will do the dash to 60 in 5 and a bit, I have no idea what top speed is but I do know that from 90 it pushes you back in the seat if you boot it - 160 seems achievable with the power to weight ratio. In short, if all I ever did was pop to the shops and could use a home charger that would be one thing but for real world use Noisy Noddy wins hands down in every way. Except for the noise. He's a shouty little sod.

One day there will be so many ICE cars that have been changed for EV that the government will be losing billions in tax. They will have to start taxing the vehicles or the electricity to cover the losses associated with existing motoring income. The electricity companies will be looking to up their charges to increase generation and upgrade their networks to distribute enough electricity for the massive demand. Unless a way can be found to recycle batteries the depreciation on 10 or 15 year old EV's will remain eye watering and a massive consideration when it comes to consumer choice.

As far as the green issues are concerned I still need somebody to explain to me why mining coal is so bad but mining Lithium, copper and cobalt is absolutely fine, even when child slave labour and the raping of our planet is involved.

The problem remains that until we have batteries that can give a true 300 mile plus range at a price comparable to an internal combustion vehicle, that can be charged in minutes, can be effectively recycled etc, ICE remains the best choice in most situations, and the only choice in many.

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