It's a two-door subcompact hatchback with a sticker price of $30,890, including shipping. It can't travel more than 110 miles at a time. A car like that sounds sale-proof in these pickup- and utility-crazy times, doesn't it?
But dealers can't get enough of the Mini Electric, and they are looking to at least double sales this year. The model's surprising success couldn't have come at a better time for the brand, which has been hurt by the massive shift to light trucks from cars, as well as from the changing demographics of customers who aged out of the brand over the last 19 years.
Mini of the Americas Vice President Mike Peyton said 88 percent of Mini Electric buyers are new to the brand. There are some "win-backs" in that group who have left and come back, he said.
He credits the car's success to its sporty performance and attractive price and that it is often an owner's third or fourth vehicle used for daily drives well within its limited range. After the $7,500 federal tax credit, the price comes down to the mid-$20,000s before taxes and options.
Initially, Mini officials were concerned that the 110-mile range would short-circuit the car's appeal, especially when most other EVs can travel more than 200 or even 300 miles or more on a single charge. "We were cautious," Peyton said.