It’s the age-old question: gas or electric? The guys from TFL Car have set out to compare the new MINI Cooper SE against a more traditional model, the MINI Cooper S. One of the presenters bought a 2010 MINI Cooper S which was the perfect machine to compare against the new electric model from Oxford. The goal of their experiment was to see which car was cheaper to run and just how much range the Cooper SE has in a challenging scenario.

That said, they set out on a course that would take them to 12,000-ft of elevation in the Rocky Mountains, just outside Boulder, Colorado. The course would be 148 miles long, 74 miles each way.

Therefore, the MINI Cooper SE should be able to cover at least one way easily since the EPA rated it for 110 miles on a single charge.

But, there are some details getting in the way. The biggest issue here is that the car will be driving uphill so that will take a toll on the battery, as will the lower temperatures outside so it’s going to be a close call.

Despite all the headwinds the MINI Cooper SE made it up to the Loveland Pass without having to recharge. Even though the car’s estimate showed 100 miles of range when they set off, due to the uphill driving and the cold temperatures at 12,000-ft of elevation, when they got there, the electric MINI showed it had only 14 miles of range left. With no charger in sight, the guys had to turn back and head to Boulder which was 74 miles away.

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This time, rolling downhill helped out as the car managed to squeeze in some extra electrons into the battery on the way, to help out with the range. Realizing that they can’t really make it back to the HQ without charging, the guys decide to stop at a fast charger, arriving there with 16 miles of range left, after covering 126 miles.

Therefore, the car was actually capable of about 142 miles. And this where the fun begins as they hit a couple of hiccups trying to recharge using an Electrify America charger.