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I’ve been in possession of my Countryman SE PHEV for 7 weeks now and thought it might be of some use to others share things I’ve found out.

The PHEV suits my needs but I suspect it will not be suitable for the majority of UK motorists particularly with the loss of the £2500 grant. The main factors for me that make it suitable are: I am obliged to have a car at work with me every day but rarely drive more than 10 miles in total per day. I have a driveway at home where I was able to have a home charging point installed. My wife has a Skoda estate which we use for all family expeditions other than the morning nursery/school run. I live in a city and therefor use public transport for almost all journeys outwith the working week other than trips to the countryside when we take the Skoda.

For the non-technically minded like myself – particularly living in Scotland where installation is effectively free of charge – having a home charging point is a no-brainer. Standard charging from my UK domestic plug socket from empty to 100% takes more than 6 hours. I understand that the car can be set to charge from a domestic plug more quickly than this but to do so the manual states you need to have an understanding of the maximum current that your wiring can handle. I would need to pay an electrician to tell me this information (I accept many others wouldn’t).

I had a 3.6kw home charging point installed with a tethered lead 2 weeks ago. Charging to 100% from empty now takes just under 3 hours. The UK government provide £500 funding directly to the installation company themselves and people living in Scotland can claim a refund of upto £300 from the Scottish Government Energy Saving Trust which will cover the cost of supply and installation for most basic tethered units. This means I haven’t paid a penny for the installation of my home charging point. I am very happy with the installation and am happy to share details of the company involved by PM. The Scottish Government contribution needs to be applied for/approved before any works are agreed to/paid for.

As I understand it, for the Countryman SE, there is no point in installing a more powerful charger than 3.6kW as this is the maximum charging rate the car will accept.

Using public charging points is a bit complicated and will probably be something I rarely do. Some charging points require the user to provide their own type 2 charging lead. This is not included with the car. Type 2 charging leads cost upwards of £100. If you have access to public charging points that are likely to remain free of charge for the foreseeable future I suppose this might be worth the money. However, a lot of public charging points now seem to charge both by kilowatts extracted and by time spent at the charging station. I’ve seen a figure of £6ish for 3 hours being banded about for some stations. Given that this will only give 14miles driving in UK wintertime in the Mini this seems like a no go for me.

In cold weather (under 10 degrees as I understand it) the distance the car will cover per charge is reduced from 20-24miles to approximately 14 miles. This is further reduced if air-conditioning is used. “pre-conditioning” as described below helps prevent this battery drain by the AC a bit.

The petrol engine is inefficient and not fast. I previously drove a 2014 Leon Cupra but since my family got a bit older I was only ever driving it in town or on the motorway so have no need any longer for an entertaining car. If you are regularly driving more than 14miles daily without access to/time to charge in between journeys and live in the UK and are looking for low carbon emissions but don’t want to go fully electrical, I imagine you would be best to buy a car with a 1.0 TSI engine rather than a current generation PHEV.

“Pre-conditioning” is amazing. The car can be set to pre-warm at a set time each day if it is connected to an electrical outlet. Stepping immediately into a warm and fully defrosted car each morning this week when the temperature outside is -5C has been a joy.

The Mini Connected app is great for the SE once you get it working. My car has the standard post-March 2018 small touchscreen navigation/media system. As such it lacks the “mini connected assistant” option that the manual says should be used to activate many of the features of the Mini Connected app. A quick facebook message to Mini UK was passed onto the Mini Connected app team and within a few days, the app was fully connected to the car. The only note of caution I would express is that the type of features within the Mini Connected appt are only available to BMW drivers via payment of an annual subscription. I imagine such a thing is on the horizon for Mini owners.

The car feels really well put together and solid in comparison to my Seat which cost a similar amount.
I suspect in the long run – if I keep the car for my usual 7ish years – the extra cost of the PHEV will only just be balanced out by the fuel cost savings. This margin will be further challenged by the removal of the £2500 government grant that I was able to benefit from . However, having 2 kids, I will feel a lot less guilty than I did driving my 2litre turbocharged wagon.

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Nice to hear your views so far,I too have only had my Phev for about 6 weeks and also use it as a second car.I’m finding it a great car so far and I am enjoying the drive and handling.
Funny enough i’ve Just had my wall charger fitted today,I went for a black Rolec 7kw 5m tethered just so I could future proof for when I decide to go full ev.

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Just a warning about the pre-conditioning, it is possible to activate it even if the car is not plugged in, but there is sufficient charge in the battery, however that will deplete the battery. I also believe all PHEVs produced after March 2018 are all Mini Connected at no extra cost.

Agree on the public charging, that piece isn't well stressed in the reviews I see. The car makes the most sense when you are regularly running it between two points that are either free to use or one of them is your home, and therefore you have a bit of control over the cost of electricity. None of the 'subscription' services in England make any sense at all for the Countryman. Not unless you are constantly driving around, but still have time to sit on one of these public charges for hours at a time to pick up a full charge. I've been able to set mine to charge at the medium rate, or whatever it is called, which charges it up under 5 hours instead. My garage hasn't spontaneously burst into flames yet, but I don't dare set it at the highest rate for the 2 hours and a half charging rate...Unfortunately the positioning isn't ideal for installation of a dedicated point, so don't have that as an option as of yet.

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My experience of charging in Scotland is:
Provided you fork out for the £20pa smartcard then all Chargepoint Scotland public chargers are free
Several companies I have visited in line with work have free charging points in their car parks some have tethered chargers others you need your own cable (1st extra I bought for my car, but I have only needed to use it twice so far as only the older chargers locally don’t have tethered cables) - use of these chargers was free. I went for a medical recently and there were 6 free charging points in that company’s car park with 24 slots in total
Where I live the local council has a positive attitude to requiring all car parks to have minimum of 12 charge points - I can even use “Tesla” branded charge points that have tethered Type 2 plugs on then in two car parks in Stirling
I have 32 solar panels on the house roof that can contribute to charging the car but I cannot hook the car directly to them. I gave to use my 50% of the FIT allowance to charge the car
Instead of installing a home charger I had upgraded wiring and a special fuse box and double socket installed in my garage - I find I can fully charge the car on the mains in less than 5 hours, quite adequate for my usage.
The has been a boom in OHEV and BEV sakes since I got my Countryman PHEV to the extent that the three car parks I usually use I find all the charge points are taken by people who leave their car on the charger from 8am to 5pm even though they have fully charged the battery in a couple of hours.
If you park on a Chargepoint Scotland charger in a public car park then there isn’t just free electricity, you don’t pay for the parking either and as i’m over 60 years old I also get picked up from the car park by the free park and ride bus into the town centre as the bus stop is just across the pavement from the row of charging points.
There are a lot of ignorant ICE car owners who park their cars on charging point slots despite the road surface being painted green, there being a large post with cables attached on the kerb at every second car park slot and an electric car icon painted on the green surface......... they get very upset when you point out that they are possibly blocking a charging point for a BEV who needs that slot to charge their car just to get home.
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