Our Cars: MINI Countryman PHEV

8 February 2018: BIG MINI PHEV's charge sheet

The Details

Current mileage 2993
Claimed economy 134.5mpg
Actual economy 51.5mpg

When BIG MINI first arrived we considered having a fast charger fitted to the house. There’s a Government grant for it and everything: 75% of the cost, capped at £500, which, coincidentally, is about how much it costs to have one installed. Weird, that.

Long story short, we needed to prove that we’d have the car for six months – the minimum ownership period required to qualify the grant – and for various reasons we weren’t able to do that. So, unfortunately, this time around we won’t be able to tell you what difference it makes having a fast charger.

Saying that, we pretty much know what difference it will make – it’ll reduce the time to charge the car from around eight hours to two and a half hours. Additional convenience, yes, but to us it doesn’t seem to make much difference – the car is away during the day, then left to charge overnight. Via a cable that runs into the garage. The same thing our next door neighbours do with their Nissan Leaf.

Of course, there are occasions – weekends usually – when having a 2.5-hour charge time would be handy, and frankly if we owned the car we’d certainly be investing in a charge box.


               Here's what owning a £44,000 petrol-electric hybrid car looks like. Pure glamour. 

Anyway, whichever way it's dispensed, a full charge will give you "up to 25 miles", says MINI. It's the sort of claim that shops make during the sales. “UP TO 70% OFF!” they scream, which of course could mean 1% off, which is a number in the ‘up to 70%’ range.

And so it is with the MINI, which started off giving us 18-20 miles of electric driving, but as the winter has come and the temperature has dropped, it’s now closer to 15. So we’re dipping into the tank more on shorter journeys with a flat battery, which is dragging down our short-distance economy. 

In fairness, 50mpg-plus is very good for such a big car – and it’s that which we should focus on, really – but it’s hard not to see it in the context of the claimed 134.5mpg. And the list price. And a standard diesel engine.

There’s the tax thing to think about, of course, but we’ll do that next time.  

« Earlier: BIG MINI, big miles, big bills     Later: Does tax make this PHEV worthwhile? »

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