Picking up my wife's new 2022 Mini Cooper SE

 

About 3 months ago I posted about how a short range EV could be a practical choice for some drivers, and as my wife fits the profile (her commute round trip is currently less than 12 miles and she has never driven more than 75 miles in a day ever) we went ahead and ordered her the electric Mini Cooper SE.

As a quick recap the Mini Cooper SE has an EPA range of 114 miles, can charge from 5% to 80% in about 30 minutes at a 50KW DC fast charging station and does 0-60mph in the low 6 second range.

The MSRP starts at $29,900 for the entry level model known as the Signature but can exceed $37k if you want the top of the line Iconic trim which includes larger wheels, an opening glass roof, upgraded stereo and a few other things. We went with the base Signature trim as it's generously equipped already with leatherette seats, an 8.8" screen, GPS, Apple CarPlay, keyless entry, heated seats, rear view camera with parking sensors and so on. We chose the "white-silver" color option with a black roof, the electric only "energetic yellow" mirrors and the black 16" "Victory" wheels. We placed the order the last week of August and picked it up the last day of November, all in-line with the sales advisors predictions. It's worth noting that while no discount was forthcoming due to the current new car shortage we were not charged anything over MSRP either unlike stories I've heard about some other dealers so we had no cause for complaint.

The financials on this particular Mini make a lot of sense. A gasoline powered Cooper S with the closest specification would again be a Signature trim with a couple of options and comes to $31,900 so a full $2,000 more than the electric version although it would include the glass moonroof. So anyone who still thinks electric cars cost more than gas cars has not been keeping up with market progress... As of the time of writing the electric version of the Mini is still eligible for a $7,500 deduction on your federal taxes so that brings its price down to just $22,400. That's cheaper than the most basic Mini Cooper on sale today never mind the Cooper S! Depending where you live you may be eligible for a state subsidy, we are currently applying for a $2,500 one from Texas, which could bring the effective price down to $19,900. Sales taxes and other fees will vary depending on where you live but for us we could be looking at a grand total of under $23,000 "out the door" as it were. That is astounding value for money. The gasoline equivalent would be over $35,000 out of the door. But we're not done yet, let's also factor in the fuel and maintenance savings.


Mini Cooper SE (electric)Mini Cooper S (gasoline)
MSRP$29,900$31,900
inc taxes, registration, fees$33,000$35,000
Federal tax rebate-$7,500$0
State incentive rebate-$2,500$0
ACTUAL PURCHASE COST
$23,000$35,000

The gasoline Mini Cooper SE gets 28mpg in the city and is the figure that is most relevant to our use case. At a cost of $3 per gallon, which is what I see advertised around here, that works out to 10.7c per mile or $5,350 over 50,000 miles/5 years of ownership. We won't build up mileage that fast but we do intend to keep it for longer than 5 years and gas prices will inevitable far exceed $3 per gallon so the savings are still very valid. I'm going with 10k miles per year as that's closer to an average driver.

We get just over 5 miles per kWh of electricity according to the Mini trip computer and at 15c per kWh after taxes and fees (our old flat rate plan) that works out to 3c per mile or $1,500 for 50,000 miles/5 years of ownership giving a further saving of $3,850 over the gas car. Except we are on a plan where electricity between 8pm and 5am is free so we will save $5,350!


Mini Cooper SE (electric)Mini Cooper S (gasoline)
MSRP$29,900$31,900
inc taxes, registration, fees$33,000$35,000
Federal tax rebate-$7,500$0
State incentive rebate-$2,500$0
ACTUAL PURCHASE COST$23,000$35,000
Fuel economy5 miles per kWh28mpg city cycle
Fuel cost per mile$0.0 per mile (free power overnight)$0.107 (@ $3 per gallon)
FUEL COST (50k miles)$0$5,350

As for maintenance, well, it's not quite $0 for an electric car but it's very close. There are no oil changes, or anything else related to the engine. There is no transmission so nothing to do there either. Think of all the leaks you won't get. All that needs to be done is an inspection of the suspension and steering, wheel bearings and lubricating the brake calipers due to their lack of use as electric cars mainly use regenerative braking which means drag from the electric motor is used to slow them down. This also means brake pads may even last the lifetime of the vehicle... I'm using 50,000 miles or 5 years as the example here but even that will likely save about $2,500 according to what my dealers charges (which includes one set of front brake pads). The longer you keep an EV the more the maintenance savings increase as stuff in an engine and transmission wears out or leaks. That big timing belt service? Not needed! It's my estimate that over the 5 years or 50,000 miles we'll save about $2,000.


Mini Cooper SE (electric)Mini Cooper S (gasoline)
MSRP$29,900$31,900
inc taxes, registration, fees$33,000$35,000
Federal tax rebate-$7,500$0
State incentive rebate-$2,500$0
ACTUAL PURCHASE COST$23,000$35,000
Fuel economy5 miles per kWh28mpg city cycle
Fuel cost per mile$0.0 per mile (free power overnight)$0.107 (@ $3 per gallon)
FUEL COST (50k miles)$0$5,350
REGULAR MAINTENANCE (5y/50k miles)$500$2,500
GRAND TOTAL COST (5y/50k miles)
$23,500$42,850

All in, buying and running the cars over 50,000 miles or 5 years, that's a total saving of $19,350 and that difference would grow the longer we kept the vehicles.

A big question exists over the residual value of both cars. Will the gasoline claw anything back there?

How popular will used gasoline cars be in 5 years? We're talking 2027 here... I don't think they'll be unwanted (although this is an issue already for some gasoline cars in countries like Norway where EV's already have more than 80% of the market) but there will be plenty of used EV's on the market and I personally believe that the maintenance cost and fuel price at that time will deter many buyers of used gasoline vehicles so I think they will depreciate a little worse than they have in the past.

On the other hand, with a better range Mini coming in the next generation how will used short range EV's be received 5 years from now? With 3 years and 50,000 miles remaining on the warranty buyers would surely go for that peace of mind and lower running costs? I think on balance the electric version of the Mini may be worth more than the gasoline version, certainly I don't see the value dropping off a cliff until it gets past its 8 year battery warranty period. Even then, when people see more data on the life of batteries there might not be such a negative perception. It's hard to predict the future but the market is demonstrably changing, the question is how fast is it changing, what will the cost of fuel be in the future and so on. A Mini Cooper S has historically lost 50% of its value over 5 years but I am going to predict that it will be worse over the coming 5 years. I won't get too outlandish but I'll say that rather than being worth maybe $14k it will be worth $14k. And based on what I said I feel the electric version will be more desirable but again I'll be conservative and say the EV will only be worth the same as the gas car.


Mini Cooper SE (electric)Mini Cooper S (gasoline)
MSRP$29,900$31,900
inc taxes, registration, fees$33,000$35,000
Federal tax rebate-$7,500$0
State incentive rebate-$2,500$0
ACTUAL PURCHASE COST$23,000$35,000
Fuel economy5 miles per kWh28mpg city cycle
Fuel cost per mile$0.0 per mile (free power overnight)$0.107 (@ $3 per gallon)
Fuel cost (50k miles)$0$5,350
REGULAR MAINTENANCE (5y/50k miles)$500$2,500
GRAND TOTAL COST (5y/50k miles)$23,500$42,350
Estimated residual value (5y/50k)$14,000$14,000
TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP
$9,500$28,350
Per month equivalent$158$472
Per mile equivalent$0.19$0.57

So the total cost of the gasoline version could well be 3 times that of the electric version. Even if my predictions are wrong and gasoline prices plummet and the move to EV's stays slow and the limited range is a massive issue for future buyers, The gas car could be worth $18k in 5 years and the electric one could be worth literally $0 and we'd still be better off than buying the gas one. So whatever your feelings are around electric vehicles vs gasoline ones, in the case of a Mini, if the range is sufficient for your daily use (and see my other posts for why it probably is for 95% of you) then the electric version is the way to go, at least financially...

On a side note, running these numbers has shown me that even if there were no rebates on the electric Mini at all, and we paid for our nightly electricity, and gasoline was just $1 per gallon (i.e. subsidized even more than it already is), we'd still be $4,000 better off over 5 years!

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