EXPLAINER | Everything you need to know about electric vehicles

Mini Cooper SE. Image: BMW Press
Mini Cooper SE. Image: BMW Press

• Car manufacturers are making electric vehicles part of their portfolio.  

• In 2019 2.5% of global car sales were electric passenger vehicles.

• There are four fully electric vehicles on sale in SA: BMW i3, Jaguar I-Pace, Mini Cooper SE, and Porsche Taycan. 

The race for the electric car is currently at maximum voltage as carmakers introduce several new models to their line-ups replacing combustion engine derivatives. 

Sales of electric vehicles continue to edge up each year and 2.5% of global car sales were plug-in electric passenger cars last year compared to 2.1% in 2018 and 1.3% in 2017. 

Locally, there are only four EV passenger cars available: the BMW i3, Jaguar I-Pace, Porsche Taycan, and the recently launched Mini Cooper SE.

The latter is the fourth electric vehicle to go on sale and is also the least expensive with a starting price of R642 000. 

mini cooper se

Image: BMW Press

There are three main types of EVs, they are differentiated by the degree that electricity is used as their energy source. BEVs, or battery electric vehicles also known as EVs use a rechargeable battery to power the car. 

PHEVs of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and HEVs, or hybrid electric vehicles. Only BEVs are capable of charging on a level 3, DC fast charge.

SA's least expensive electric car

The new Mini Cooper SE is powered by an electric motor that produces 135kW and 270Nm. The rechargable high-voltage battery is located deep in the underbody shifts the vehicle’s centre of gravity down considerably.

Mini reckons it'll silently reach 100 km/h from standstill in 7.3 seconds ans has a range of 217 kilometres after being fully charged. 

With more and more electric cars joining the local market in the future from the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Volkswagen it's good to familiarise ourselves with the terminology connected to them.  

This handy video will explain everything you need to know about EVs, and who knows you might be gliding along silently in the not too distant future. 

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