As much as many of us are in desperate need to get away and take a holiday, ever changing quarantine rules are making it rather difficult and challenging. So, the trend this year is very much to either have a staycation or visit and tour a neighbouring country if you live on the Continent.
Of course, if you happen to live close to the border of another country, such as Switzerland for example, it can be relatively easy to take a day trip and enjoy a change of scenery. And what better way to do it than in the new electric MINI Cooper SE, which generates zero local emissions and gives a combined fuel consumption of 0.0 l/100 km with a combined electricity consumption of 16.8 – 14.8 kWh/100 km and combined CO2 emissions of 0 g/km.
Switzerland has so much to offer and in normal times, attracts visitors from all over the world who want to take advantage of the fresh mountain air and stunning scenery the lakes and mountains offer.
You could very easily base yourself in one of the cities and take daily outings between some of the low-lying countryside as well as higher mountain regions, all of which are easily accessible with the electric MINI Cooper SE. When fully charged, the car’s battery will take you somewhere between 235 to 270 kilometres on a single charge.
Although the MINI Electric is silent, which can cause problems with unaware pedestrians and cyclists in built up areas, an artificial drive sound has been created especially for the MINI which is transmitted to the world around it through speakers when it is driving slowly.
The MINI Electric uses its energy of motion for the regeneration of electricity in the acceleration and deceleration phases. A clever toggle switch allows this recuperation to be adjusted in two stages. In power mode, the car can drive through city traffic almost without the need for brakes. Then, when coming down a mountain road for example, the braking effect can be used to replenish the battery reserves. Clever stuff!
When you select to drive in GREEN mode, the car activates an accelerator response based on efficiency, and congestion and traffic lights are quickly forgotten. However, when you select the SPORT setting from the MINI Driving Modes, which by the way, is highly recommended when driving in the Sihlwald forest nature reserve, then the toggle switch activates more direct responses for steering and accelerator. The car offers agile handling and is great fun to drive on the winding stretch of road along the River Sihl.
If you base yourself in Zurich, you can easily head out across the Europe Bridge and travel south which will give you the chance to enjoy the panoramic views of Lake Zurich. The roads along the banks of Lake Zug give you a chance to have a break and take in the unrestricted views of the watery expanse on the eastern and the southerly shores. Then comes Lake Lucerne after a short drive in a south-westerly direction. The panoramic view is undoubtedly dominated by the undulations of the Alpine foothills. The road to Lucerne will take you past the Swiss Transport Museum, which is well worth a day’s excursion with its collection of aircraft, railway locomotives, ships and automobiles from various eras.
Lucerne’s biggest attraction is the famous Chapel Bridge on the western bank of the lake. This is the city’s main landmark and it has the reputation of being the oldest covered wooden pedestrian bridge in Europe.
From Lucerne, you can then either drive towards the south or head up a mountain and travel down the motorway or take the country route alongside Lake Sarnen and a little later beside Lake Lungern. Then en route to Interlaken, you can stop off at one of the four lakeside lidos and take a refreshing swim in Lake Brienz to charge up your own batteries before the drive through Interlaken and up the mountain to Grindelwald.
Located at the foot of the famous Eiger mountain, Grindelwald is a popular tourist destination and is great for visiting mountain peaks, grottos and glaciers. The Jungfrau Railway passes through a tunnel seven kilometres long until it pulls into Europe’s highest railway station perched at an altitude of 3,454 metres above sea level. At the top of the Jungfraujoch, you can experience a spectacular Alpine wonderland of ice, snow and rocks with breathtaking views of the Eiger’s north face. You can then take the “First Flieger” cable car down for 800 metres. The Pfingstegg summer toboggan run races downhill into the valley, but if that’s a bit too much excitement, then a more gentle hike through the Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge is well worth doing.
Having returned home or back to your hotel at the end of a long day, the MINI Electric can simply be plugged into a household socket, wallbox or quick charging station so it’s ready for the next day’s excursion. A clever little remote app allows you to check the current level of charge. You can also use the timer on your smartphone to select the desired departure time the next morning so that the stationary air-conditioning gets to a comfortable temperature inside the vehicle for when you are ready to head off into the countryside.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground Travel and Lifestyle as well as Editor of Our Man Behind The Wheel Motoring Magazine.
Photographs courtesy of BMW Group