Buying & running a Countryman PHEV - MINI Cooper Forum

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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 20th, 2019, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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Buying & running a Countryman PHEV

Hi folks, just joined this forum as Iím considering buying my first PHEV.
What should I be aware of?
If the car is running on battery only, does the heater still work? Where does it get the heat from
Charging leads, I believe I only get one for a 13amp socket at home. Do I need a different one for charging away from home? What is the cost of a quick charge? Cable?
What is the likely cost of charging at home overnight?
What are the costs of connecting to bollard in a car park?
Iím retired now so the car is being bought with my money, not a Company car allowance, subsequently I donít believe I will be eligible to any tax deduction. I expect to do around 8K per annum, mostly very short trips, but at least once a week the car will get a run nearer 50 miles, which I wonít be able to complete on one charge. Does the car have any regenerative charging when braking?
Iím still not sure the PHEV will be worth the additional cost over a petrol only car. Any advice on this?
I am going for a 48 hr test drive on Monday, what should I look out for?
Many thanks
Gordon

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 21st, 2019, 09:03 AM
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I looked at the PHEV before buying the standard cooper S. My circumstances are similar to you, recently retired and I also do around 7-8K miles a year and about 50 to 60 % of those journeys could be completed on battery. But when I did the sums for me, the extra £4K for a PHEV bought a lot of petrol at 40mpg.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 21st, 2019, 09:22 AM
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Hi guys. I'll try to answer to the best of my knowledge (I'm using a Countryman PHEV for the past year).

In terms of awareness I'm not sure you have to pay any extra attention in particular. The car feels and behaves like a premium.

The heater in the car is mainly electric and it starts in the second you turn the car ON (or pre-programmed, if you wish so, and it will be alreahy heated up when you start using it, using energy from the mains if is plugged in or from the battery if the state of charge is good enough. The classical heating (using coolant from the engine) is still there but it needs the engine to run for a long time and this is rarely the case in city driving (low speeds, short distances). The A/C is fully electric (the heat pump is enabled by an electrical motor).

I got 2 cables with my car. A 220V to type 2 adapter and a regular type 2 cable.
The battery on the current models is 7.6kWh, the ones being manufactured starting this July will have 10.5kWh battery (30% larger capacity, same physical dimensions). The car does not support fast charging, it will always charge with a maximum of 3.6kW.
There is regenerative breaking and regenerative coasting. Actually, the first centimeter from the brake pedal is 100% regenerative and only if you press harder than that the mechanical disk brakes will engage.

At the current state of technology you do not buy a Phev/Bev to save money (best case scenario: you can be at a similar TCO after 10 years maybe) but you buy it for the extra comfort it provides (quiet running at low speeds, good dynamics on the road, instant heating and this remote climatise option that is not burning petrol while running.
In Sweden there is an incentive for the plug-in cars, no matter if you buy it as a company car or as a private individual. The Countryman phev is eligible for about 4-5k€ equivalent if I'm not mistaken.

Last edited by ro_explorer; Apr 21st, 2019 at 10:48 AM.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 21st, 2019, 10:35 AM
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Has the 30% larger battery from July been confirmed anywhere officially? I have heard a few people mention a larger battery capacity (and it makes sense) but wonder if it’s just a rumor?
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 21st, 2019, 10:59 AM
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I have 2 sources at hand:

Exclusive: 2020 MINI Countryman Hybrid to Get Upgrade - MotoringFile
MINI Countryman Hybrid Upgrade for 2020 Model | Braman

If these are real or not I cannot tell but I have no reason not to believe the data. The low range in full electric is a reality and there are some regulations about to be implemented in EU regarding a minimum 50km WLTP range for PHEVs in order to get the green incentive on purchase (I might be wrong about this but I definitely recall something regarding 50Km full electric range, I'm not sure about the test standard).
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 21st, 2019, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for that info
So if the charging rate is limited to 3.6kw/h is there any point on getting a fast charger installed at home?
Also public charging points, I have seen charges around £6-£7 per charge. Surely this will be more expensive than running on petrol only!
I’m still not convinced public charging points are viable with the MINI due to the low charging rate. PLEASE correct me if I have this wrong!

Sure on my local shopping trips, I will be able to run battery only. But one of my regular trips to visit my Mother in law, once every 4-5 days is a minimum 32 mile round trip, with no facility to charge when I get there. I know I will not be able to make it there & back so will end up using the ICE.

I’m still trying to get my head around whether paying the extra premium over a petrol only Countryman is worth while!

Whilst I like the idea of a PHEV, the short range of the MINI is a concern. Toyota PHEV’s are out as I won’t entertain a CVT gearbox. I have been a VAG owner for the last 11 years, but want something more crossover than a Golf GTE, which is where the MINI Countryman comes in. I’d want it in white with a black roof as that would match in with my ‘65 Riley Elf which I’m currently rebuilding.

Thank you to all who have replied. If you are a PHEV owner and have read this please comment and give your view,
Many thanks
Gordon
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 21st, 2019, 02:03 PM
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Just for the PHEV is not worth spending the extra cash for a fast (read 3 phase, AC) charger. The built-in 220V adapter is perfect for this. Later on, when you will probably switch to a full EV then yes, you will benefit from a fast charger.
Just as an idea, using Type2 chargers at public station I'm getting 0-100% in 2H30M. Using the included adapter, on max charging rate (you can choose high/mid/min charging rate from the onboard computer) is gonna take about 3H30M (I never used it to charge 0-100, it is just an estimate given by the car).

As for the public charging, I'm always aiming (and using) the ones that are taxing by kWh (or the free ones ). It is cheaper to run petrol only (in hybrid mode) than charging at the public station which are taxing per session.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 22nd, 2019, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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Picked up a car today for a 48 hour test.
Given an introduction to the vehicle then off I drove on battery power, stopped at another store a short distance away & thought I’d best check for the charging cable, not there. Returned to the dealers, who had to hunt around for the cable. Departed from the dealers on battery power but only went about 1/2 mile before the ICE kicked in. The Battery had not been charged before they gave me the car!
Only a small amount of fuel so stopped at a supermarket filling station, it was busy with it being the bank holiday, couldn't get the filler cap open! Tried to open the flap same way as my Leon, but it wouldn’t open, saw the switch on the drivers door, tried pulling it & pushing it but flap still didn’t swing open! Left the filling station looking rather embarrassed that I couldn’t open the ‘kin flap, left to return again to the dealers.
But I decided to pull over & have another go at the flap, eventually got it open so stopped at another filling station to put fuel in.
Rather a disappointing start to the day!
Wasn’t really able to get a feel of the EV due to the low charge on the battery. Drove across the moors to Stanhope were on the drop down the hill into the town the battery was re charged sufficient to get around 1 mile before the ICE cut in again!
Got home mid afternoon and put the car on charge, went out an hour or so later having read up a bit more in the manual. Now had 8 mile of range on the battery so I was able to have a 6 mile run on battery only, so a bit pleased about that.
A couple of things disappoint me, no front parking sensors and only a single tone horn on a £34K car!!!
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Sorry to hear that. Sounds like the dealership could do much better.

Was the 48 hour test drive for a new car purchase? Or do they offer that on their used stock too?
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 08:01 AM Thread Starter
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They have a couple of used ones in stock. They were aware I was looking at one of these, in fact the one I have on test is one of those.
MINI have a lot of “used” Countryman PHEVs available on their website, the majority with very low mileage, so selecting a colour and spec is not too bad, also the cost saving on a new one is nice, also saves waiting for a factory build.
Will have another run out today with a fully charged battery!

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 09:08 AM
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I have owned my PHEV since June 2018 and racked up 3500 miles (I work abroad for 6 months of the year hence low miles). I live 16 miles from the nearest town but as I live in Scotland where we have free public charging stations all over the country if you have the Charge Point Scotland RFID card. My experiences so for are only positive apart from a c few small negatives........

Positives ; heating and cooling are instant from drive away as Ro says and you can pre-heat/pre-cool the interior from the Mini Connected app from anywhere in the world that has a good internet connection. I have spent the last 30 years wafting around in Range Rovers, the Countryman PHEV is quieter regardless of which power mode you are using and servicing costs are so far NIL - after 12 months in ICE powered cars you would be looking at annual services, last time I looked I still have 19000 miles and 2.5 years to the next / first service. The car is a full 5 seater although I am normally solo in the car. It costs me 90p for a full,charge/ 24miles range at home in the day time and I can charge from my solar panel array and the Tesla storage bank in my garage if necessary. I have only put 4 complete tanks of petrol in the tank in 3500 miles, 1235 petrol powered miles, the other 2260 miles have been electricity powered. I have hugely reduced emissions from driving. I used to drive from Stirling to London to Stirling in my Range Rovers because it was cheaper, I now take the train, the Countryman is probably well up to the 900 mile round trip but the train is more pleasant than hours of motorway driving these days. The regen is great and you soon change your driving habits to regen instead of braking hard! Depending on the charge speed setting you select it can be fully charged in less than 4 hours on a 13amp Plug on in an hour from nil Charge on a public charger. In my local town if I park at a charger slot then I don’t pay for parking and the park and ride bus is free into the town centre. You don’t need a home charger for you Countryman PHEV although you will get the discount if you do fit one.

Negatives: the electric range is nowhere near that claimed, best I’m getting is 23 miles of the claimed 26 IN WARM WEATHER. On a frosty day it is more like 14 miles electric range. The 35ltr tank is too small for making long trips without having to make at lot of refuelling stops. The car is heavy (but performance is quite sufficient if your driving is mostly in town ). The car is so quiet in both petrol and electric modes that you have to watch your speed........... it also accelerates very quickly for a small heavy car.... Finding chargers that are working or not already occupied can be an issue on some networks - eg in Stirling city centre there are 20 charging points and 99% of the time they are all operative but there are times when I cannot get a parking place at one, in Glasgow city centre there are just 15 Charge points and they are nearly always taken up by all day Parker’s who work in the city. You cannot use some chargers as they don’t yet have type 2 plugs (this is the EU standard plug)- you cannot use a supercharger with the Countryman’s system. If you want to future proof your home charger then you need 3 phase power at extra cost if you want to use a charger more than 15kw, even for a 7.5kW charger you will need a new spur from you home fuse box to hand the extra load. If you just want to use a power socket in you garage ar home but need a longer lead then you also need heavy duty cable and a weatherproof socket for safety (only if you cannot park close to the 13 amp socket). One thing I have found annoying is the size of info screen on the dash - too small, but you can get around it by setting the coloured LED Surround of the centre display to show battery charge. It also poor that there is no rev counter - the engine is so quiet in normal driving it can be impossible to tell when the petrol engine is running.........
On cold days I start off in petrol mode to warm the ICE up in case I want to accelerate hard and then I switch back to EV mode. I have twice had pedestrians walk out in front of the car when running in EV mode......

I managed to get a 96 hour test drive, much better to get a proper idea of if the car suits your needs. If the dealer puts the car out uncharged and with no fuel in the tank then I would find another dealer, that is terrible service and to test drive a PHEV you would have had to book the test drive several days in advance so plenty of time to charge the battery.

Something else I think will be a problem when these cars get older is that you can drive away in EV mode for a while then in Auto E-drive put your foot down at 70mph and the petrol engine which is stone cold will cut in at high revs - no great for mechanical sympathy or thermal shock of the alloy engine. Even as a non-engineer I am aware that giving a cold engine max beans before it has warmed up isn’t very clever. Some other things to be aware of if you aren’t used to driving petrol engined cars for a few years is lack of torque in petrol mode compared to a diesel and since last August the petrol equivalent of a DPF , a PPF, is now standard fitment to all BMW petrol engines - expect the same problems with them as DPFs - also something the Range Rover Sport SVR Owners of 2019 cars have noticed is that their 5.0ltr V8’s exhaust noises and pops and bangs have gone on overrun - could be an issue if you do like the throaty noise the 3 cylinder turbo in the Countryman makes when you give it the beans in petrol mode.

One really really important thing if you are buying a factory order car - it is very easy to go wild with the options list............ I specced the heated front screen - totally wasted money as I can pre-heat the cabin on cold days and that clears all the windows and the panoramic roof as well as warming up the interior, a heated screen in the UK isn’t necessary if you can plug into the mains at home or the car is garaged overnight ( mine isn’t garaged at night).

Driving along in my automobile
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