Now, there is a key difference between Jack’s Hello Kittymobile and my Lilliput Lane cottage on wheels, but it’s not as critical as you might think. His panda cub is a clean-sheet, bespoke-from-the-wheels-up EV. New platform, new packaging that’ll never house a combustion engine. It’s not a Jazz in a Comic-Con costume. But the Mini, of course, is a converted internal-combustion car. What the engineers have done is transplanted tech from the BMW i3, which is bespoke, brilliantly packaged—and hasn’t sold—into a much more cramped, compromised package that we all know sells by the shipload. It’s less brave than the Honda. But in the EV adoption battle, this might well be the iPod to the Honda’s Zune. [The Honda’s what?—ed] Exactly.
Here’s why that doesn’t matter: The Honda hasn’t pressed home any kind of advantage over the Mini, despite being a product of fresh organic farmer’s market ingredients, not reheated leftovers.
The Mini’s lighter—at 1,365kg, it’s 145kg more than a Cooper S gasoline, but the same again lighter than the Honda. Despite the car riding 18mm higher (to make room for the batteries in the depths of the chassis), its center of gravity is lower than the regular Mini’s. It’s also better-balanced across all four wheels, which you can feel in the drive.
It’s much faster, too. It’s a three-door only, so access to the backseat is a pinch, but six-foot me can just squeeze behind six-foot me. The rear cargo area is larger: 211 liters. And though prices roll past £30,000 (P1.9 million) for the top-spec 3 model seen here complete with Harman-Kardon hi-fi, reversing camera, and leather seats, the entry-level Mini Electric 1 starts at £24,400 (P1.55 million) after the government backhander. So, you bag a quicker, more spacious car with 15-30km more real-world range, for a lower price. So much for the Honda’s ambitious clean sheet. Game, set, and match point to the Anglo-Kraut.