Here is our review of the Mini Countryman PHEV
Thank you to our key BMW supplier, BMW Park Lane, for organising this PHEV demo for the eCarLease UK team – the Mini Countryman.
The Mini brand, with their key selling hatchback, have really invested into the alternative fuel market with the new Mini Electric hatchback
A cost-effective and stylish EV will always do well in our modern automotive market, particularly with city-centre based businesses like estate agents.
Unlike some prestige manufacturers, the brand has been incredibly quick to evolve and grow in order to satisfy the changing personal and business car buying/leasing habits. To supplement this demand, Mini also have a leading SUV/crossover option in the form of the Countryman, which is available in this plug-in format.
What is a PHEV?
“I have an electric car” we hear you say … but do you really have one? So often the word “electric” can lead to confusion for customers, current or prospective, as what they are describing may not be the same as what we think it is.
When we say an electric car, we actually mean a pure electric car (pure EV), being one which emits ZERO emissions and has no combustion engine. For a vehicle to be an EV it must use a lithium-ion battery to power the motor(s) and have no form of petrol/diesel engine supporting this function.
When a customer identifies that they have an electric petrol/diesel car, they are mostly referring to the PHEV – a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle. While technically (if properly operated) a cleaner option, the PHEV is not quite as efficient as the pure electric option.
A PHEV is not a new concept; the Mitsubishi Outlander is well-known as being a leading PHEV SUV and has been present in the UK for many years.
However, the last 3 years have been far more buoyant and there are now more and more choices for customers with a range of hatchback, saloon, estate and SUV options.
Part of the move towards a PHEV has been in the company car market as those vehicles with a pure electric range attract a much lower BiK %; in some cases you are paying half of the tax you would incur through a normal petrol or diesel option.
Where a customer needs to make a distinction is between the self-charging hybrid and the PHEV. The former is a well-known format for Lexus and Toyota and is, in effect, a very small lithium-ion battery supporting a petrol engine. The electric-only range is very small; generally no more than 1 or 2 miles.
However, the hybrid does not require any external charging. By this we mean the driver will have physically connect the vehicle to an external charge point to charge the battery. A hybrid will effectively charge the battery as the vehicle moves and brakes (regenerative braking).
In contrast, a PHEV does need to be connected to a charge point in order to charge, so a customer must purchase a home or business charging solution. For more information on which charging solution is right for you, and how much they cost, take a look at our guidance pages – Home EV Charging Solutions.
If you are curious as to how the lead connects, and where, just check out our Volvo XC60 PHEV guide
Why do Leasing Brokers offer so much information and who is the BVRLA?
Like many industries, the contract hire one has grown and evolved significantly over the last 5 years.
One of the big influencers within our industry is the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association BVRLA who is a trade body and effectively works with the companies engage in rental/leasing while connecting with governments, public sector bodies, business influencers and environmental institutions.
As a leasing broker, we have an agreed code of conduct with the BVRLA to ensure we operate to the highest of standards including:
- Provide a clear approach to pricing;
- Not to misrepresent products or services;
- Behave with integrity (as should any agents);
- Understand and comply with the rules and regulation of the products;
- Provide customers with the information to make an informed decision;
- Operate from an established place of business;
- Not to mislead in any advertising;
- Manage complaints properly;
- Ensure staff are correctly trained; and
- Display the BVRLA logo.
Why some of the above may mean very little to our customers on the surface, the crux of this code is to ensure that customers are treated fairly and that they receive products/services which are suitable for their needs and requirements.
This is even more pertinent with an alternative fuel vehicle because customers have often not driven this type of vehicle before and they may need further assistance to understand what the vehicle is and how it operates.
Even though a car offers a cheaper company car tax position, it doesn’t mean it is correct for you – this is why we offer some practical tools like a choosing the right fuel guide for customers to use.
Some of the information may seem in-depth and overbearing but we need to ensure we comply with our regulator and ombudsman. As contract hire is a fixed term of 2/3/4 years, we need to ensure this is the right decision or you or the business!
Specification of the Mini Countryman PHEV reviewed vehicle
In terms of the car shown, the Mini Countryman Hatchback 1.5 Cooper S E Sport ALL4 PHEV 5dr Auto [Comfort] – Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle, this is based on the following configuration:
- Thunder grey – Metallic Paint
- Cross punch leather – Carbon black with sport seats
- 18″ John Cooper Work Alloy Wheels
- Darkened rear glass
As standard the car includes cruise control, heated windscreen washer jets, rain sensor with auto headlights, sun/heat protection glass, DSC, hill start assist, active guard (speed limiting/lane departure function/front collision warning).
Start/stop function, DAB radio, John Cooper Works styling, leather steering wheel, multifunction steering wheel, interior lighting, LED rear lights, navigation pack, 40/20 split folding seats, alarm system with tilt sensor, immobilizer and 18” alloys.
In terms of additional options consider – Harmon Kardon Hi FI system, warning triangle and first aid kit or the comfort pack (as per the one shown).
On the technical-side company car and business users can note the P11d at £35,195.00 and CO2 at 43g/km. The 9kWh lithium-ion battery and 1499CC petrol engine delivers just over 25 miles on an electric-only charge, 113 combined MPG (WLTP), 224ps and 0-62 times of 6.8 seconds.