Mini USA has opened the order banks for the 2020 Mini Cooper SE, the brand’s first electric car in many years, a revival of the formula that earned a lot of enthusiasm a decade ago in the Mini E, and its first to be mass-produced.

The Mini Cooper SE is “based on, and dimensionally almost identical” to the Mini Hardtop 2-door model launched in 2014, according to the brand, with height boosted by 0.7 inch to make room for the battery pack. Interior dimensions and cargo space are identical, it says, but there are a number of minor styling changes—the most noteworthy being a closed grille. 

The 2020 Cooper SE has a permanent-magnet electric motor producing 181 hp and 199 lb-ft, and it can get to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds and to a top speed of 93 mph. At an official U.S. curb weight of 3,153 pounds, it’s one of the lightest EVs. 

There are two levels of brake regeneration. A heat pump is included to help significantly reduce climate-control power in some weather conditions, and there’s a pre-conditioning feature through the Mini Connected app. 

With a gross battery rating of 32.6 kwh, a net (usable) rating of 28.9 kwh, and an anticipated range hasn’t yet been rated by the EPA but has now been tweaked to 110 miles for the U.S. (previously 114), the Cooper SE will be one of the shortest-range EVs on the market. Shaping up to be everything its conflicted-priorities Mini Cooper Countryman SE All4 plug-in hybrid isn’t, the Cooper SE could be a good fit for the city—and for those who drive Fiat 500e hatchbacks and are finished with their leases. 

2020 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop

2020 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop

It offers DC fast charging up to 50 kw (80 percent charge in 40 minutes) or AC charging up to 7.4 kw (as little as four hours to full, on 240V), and comes with a TurboCord capable of plugging into each on the go—although Mini recommends a 32-amp, Level 2 home charger. 

The Cooper SE starts at $30,750, including a mandatory destination fee of $850—but not including the $7,500 federal EV tax credit or various state incentives, some of which could bring the effective price to less than $20,000. 

2020 Mini Cooper SE

2020 Mini Cooper SE

At the base Signature trim level, the Mini Cooper SE includes heated front seats, a navigation system with 6.5-inch display and Apple CarPlay connectivity, LED headlights and fog lights, a choice of 16-inch wheels, and the Mini Connected apps and ConnectedDrive Services telematics suites.

Rain-sensing wipers, heated mirrors and washer jets, cruise control, automatic emergency braking and an acoustic pedestrian warning system are also included.

The Signature Plus trim level costs $34,750 and adds Harman-Kardon audio, a panoramic moonroof, power-folding mirrors, a universal garage-door opener, rear parking sensors, and 17-inch wheels. 

At the top of the lineup, the $37,750 Iconic model gets a leather steering wheel, parking assistant, front and rear parking sensors, plus a step up to 8.8-inch touchscreen navigation infotainment, wireless charging for devices, and a head-up display. 

The brand said that there have been about 15,000 hand-raisers for the vehicle, but this week’s move requires a $500 deposit to secure a place in line for deliveries. 

To that, Mini has given a precise date for its upcoming Cooper SE to arrive at U.S. dealerships: March 2020. So you might not have to wait all that much longer to just be able to go test-drive one. And we hope to do so, and bring you some advice on how this electric Mini fits, even before that.