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SEE | Electric Mini takes on the 'Green Hell' (without braking)

2019-10-19 06:00

Image: Supplied

When Mini took its electric-powered hatch to the famous 20.8km-long North Loop of the Nürburgring, few would have expected a take on a challenge as interesting as this one: drive the 'Green Hell' in Green Mode without braking. 

But that's exactly what they did. The Cooper SE has a trick up its sleeve called energy recuperation, it uses the electric motor to supply more or less energy back to the high-voltage battery as soon as the driver takes their foot off the pedal.

So, how fast can the new Cooper SE take curves like the right-hander at the Bergwerk (mine), the Caracciola-Karussell (carousel), or the right-left switchback from the Stefan-Bellof-S going on to Schwalbenschwanz (Swallow’s Tail) without the driver having to touch the brake pedal a single time?

The set up would see the driver only use Green Mode, all auxiliary systems such as climate control and seat heating were switched off to conserve energy.


                                                                Image: Mini

The level of brake energy regeneration and hence also the deceleration can be harmonised with the driving style and to suite the track profile. Timely toggling ensures soft recuperation ahead of extended bends and full energy recovery with corresponding deceleration ahead of tight curves without the driver’s foot having to touch the brake pedal. 

Focusing on Brünnchen (Small Well) 16km into the North Loop, racing drivers recommend approaching the sharp right-hand corner on the left-hand side of the track and starting to turn into it at an early stage. Mini reckons the full recuperation performance is necessary here in order to avoid being carried over the curbs at the left-hand edge. Conversely, slow deceleration is adequate before the second right-hand curve of this circuit section, particularly since there is hardly any time to put pedal to metal.


Image: Mini

This takes drivers energetically into the Eiskurve (Ice Bend) and they emerge full of verve in the direction of Pflanzgarten (Plant Garden).

Mini says its two-stage recuperation system is able to offer a fun driving experience while being efficient. Another example is directly behind the Galgenkopf (Gallow Hill) bend, Mini says the Cooper SE can make good use of all the energy that has been stored in its high-voltage battery during recuperative deceleration instead of being expended while braking.

Nothing now stands in the way of a brilliant finish over the Döttinger Höhe (Döttingen Height).


                                                                 Image: Mini

Compiled by Sean Parker

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