Tesla Vs. Mini E: An Electric Showdown from London to Scotland

Electric vehicles have a bad rap for their limited range, but one enthusiast set out to show things are not be quite as bad as they seem. After the BBC set out on a journey from London to Scotland to illustrate an EV’s limited range, a Tesla Roadster, departing two days later, actually beat the Mini E to its destination.

The Beeb’s story, currently airing on English television, shows journalist Brian Milligan’s drive from London to Edinburgh, a journey of roughly 484 miles. Sounds simple, you say, but considering the Mini E has a range of only 100 miles on a single charge and needs roughly ten hours to recharge, the trip quickly turns from trivial to tricky.

Milligan was forced to stop at least once a day over the four-day span to recharge. BMW/Mini has said the cars have roughly 100 miles of range, but driving habits, traffic conditions, and ambient temperatures can have an effect on its range, and potentially whittle that figure down to 60 miles. Further, Milligan was forced to search for one of the few charging stations sprinkled throughout England, and wait for hours before continuing his drive.

After Milligan published his frustrations on both his blog and Twitter feed, EV advocates started to cry foul. British EV fan David Peilow was so incensed, he arranged a publicity stunt with Tesla Motors to counter the BBC’s story. Borrowing a new Roadster Sport and leaving after Milligan had a two-day lead, Peilow set out to beat the BBC to Edinburgh.

Remarkably, he did just that. The Roadster, equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack offering roughly 245 miles of range (and, importantly, a 3.5-hour recharge time on a 240-volt charger), managed to make the trek in a single day. Pielow needed to stop only twice, and, having left in the wee hours of the morning, managed to sneak into Edinburgh hours before Milligan did.

The BBC is crying foul, noting the sporty Roadster’s range is nearly twice that of the “practical” Mini E, but Pielow did work towards quashing a stereotype. Many EVs do have a limited range and charging points are occasionally few and far between, but that isn’t necessarily the case in every scenario.

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2011 MINI Cooper

2011 MINI Cooper

MSRP $19,400 Base Hatchback

0-60 MPH:

8.1 SECS


29 City / 37 Hwy

Horse Power:

121 @ 6000