Stratstone Mini, who have dealerships in Derby and Chesterfield, got in touch to offer me an extended test drive of the new Mini Electric. You can book your own test drive here. I haven’t received any payment for this blog post and these views are entirely my own.
The Mini Electric features the iconic Mini design that we all know and love, but with zero emissions. As well as being more environmentally friendly, it’s really economical to run. You’ll save money on road tax and petrol or diesel costs.
What is the Mini Electric like to drive?
I’m writing this as someone who has only ever driven manual petrol or diesel cars. Despite my husband raving about his, I never really saw the appeal of automatic cars. I guess I’m a creature of habit and a bit resistant to change. I thought I liked the manual gear changes and the reassuring yank of a manual handbrake… oh how wrong I was! I’m really lucky that I was able to test drive the Mini Electric over several days. Admittedly, it felt very different and did take me a bit of getting used to.
It’s quite a different driving experience. Once I’d got used to it and found my confidence driving it, I found the Mini Electric super smooth and really, really fun to drive.
I now fully appreciate the ease of an automatic. It’s so much easier in queuing traffic, no clutch control, no waste of keeping the engine ticking over. I don’t know why but I assumed automatics to be a bit sluggish and unresponsive but this certainly wasn’t the case in the Mini Electric. It is a sheer JOY to drive. I actually looked forward to my commute to and from work.
Overall, driving the Mini Electric was FUN. It SHIFTS! It zips from 0-60 with ease, was nippy driving around town and very easy to park. Driving at speed on the motorway felt safe and comfortable. Sadly much of my test drive was over quite rainy days but it gripped the road well and handled the winding Peak District country lanes beautifully.
One of the most noticeable differences with the Mini Electric was just how quiet it is. It’s practically silent. To the point where I had to sit and wait for a pigeon to slowly meander past me because he couldn’t hear me coming!
The interiors are very swish. I particularly appreciated the huge navigation screen which made using the sat nav an absolute doddle.
Everything about being in the Mini Electric felt like being in a luxury car – but without feeling flashy.
Are electric cars feasible in Derbyshire?
I had so many pre-conceived ideas about electric cars. I thought they were entirely impractical – that it would be a faff to charge them and hard to find suitable charging locations. There’s actually loads of electric charging stations out and about. There are various apps and websites you can use to find them. Personally I just charged the car up at home. It was super easy! And also clean. I hate the smell of petrol and diesel and always feel decidedly grubby after refuelling a conventional car so really appreciated how clean and fuss free the Mini Electric was.
Speaking of clean, there are obvious environmental benefits of driving electric cars. There are zero tailpipe emissions and so leads to better air quality.
The Mini Electric has a driving range of up to 145 miles (depending on how it’s driven) before it needs re-charging. The dashboard clearly displays how much charge is left – and despite me whizzing round Derbyshire on top of my fifty mile commute, the charge never dropped below about 80%.
Basically I’ve gone from being a complete cynic to actually considering buying one. If we do go down the electric car route we’d invest in a home charging point. There are government grants available to subsidise this.
How many electric car chargers are there across Derbyshire?
According to Zap-Map there are 21,000 charging devices across the UK with nearly a quarter being free to use! I couldn’t actually find an exact number of how many electric car charging devices there are in Derbyshire and the Peak District. What is clear is that the number is rapidly increasing. There are 230 new charging points in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire as part of the D2N2 electric vehicle charging network. And Derbyshire County Council seem keen to keep increasing this number.
You can use this searchable map to see how many charging points are in your local area. Lots of supermarkets, retail parks and car parks have electric charge points. But as an example of places where I would be likely to go…
Which Derbyshire pubs, restaurants and hotels have electric charging points?
Note these are for customers only
The Bluebell, Kirk Langley
Casa Hotel, Chesterfield
The Cock Inn, Muggington
The Cow, Dalbury Lees
The Devonshire Arms at Beeley and Pilsley – complimentary charging for diners and hotel guests
Duncombe Arms in Ellastone near Ashbourne
Peak Edge Hotel
The Peacock at Barlow – buy tokens at the bar. The Peacock features in my guide to the best dog friendly places to eat across Derbyshire.
If you know of any other brilliant local businesses that have electric car charging points please do let me know in the comments below.
Overall, I loved my extended test drive. The Electric Mini is such fun to drive and I seriously consider this once it’s time to upgrade my own car. Thank you Stratstone Mini!