- I've checked out the Nissan Leaf Plus, the Chevy Bolt EV, and the MINI Cooper SE Electric — a trio of compact/sub-compact, all-electric hatchbacks.
- The Bolt and the Leaf Plus have comparable range, while the MINI manages just over 100 miles on a charge.
- The Nissan Leaf has been an EV sales leader since 2010, while the Chevy Bolt was the first long-range, mass-market electric car, launched in 2016.
- The MINI is the newest of this group — and it wins the comparison because it's far and away the most fun to drive. Even if you can't drive it as far.
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As we enter the age of the purpose-built EV — a shift that started with Tesla and now includes Volkswagen, Porsche, Cadillac, and a pile of startups from Rivian to Fisker — it's worth taking a quick look back to the olden days of electric cars.
By which I mean vehicles engineered on ye olde platforms. The Nissan Leaf, which launched in 2010 and shared its identity with the Nissan Versa. Or the Chevy Bolt, whose EV undergirding was original, but whose bodywork antecedent for was the Chevy Sonic. Or the new MINI Cooper SE Electric, which is ... a MINI Cooper SE ... that's electric.
Over the past year and a half, I've checked out the latest version of the Nissan Leaf Plus, the Chevy Bolt EV, and the MINI Cooper SE Electric — a trio of compact/sub-compact, all-electric hatchbacks. So I figured a little EV rodeo would be in order.
Here's how the vehicles fared: