Noting that, “If Alec Issigonis could design the classic Mini again today, the iconic small car would have an electric motor,” Mini has launched a “Mini Recharged” program in which people with vintage examples of the car can return them to the factory at Oxford, England, for conversion to electric power.
“The original (was) launched in 1959, created during an oil crisis and based on the idea of saving fuel and transporting four occupants and their luggage in the smallest possible footprint,” the company said in its announcement.
“Today, Mini remains connected to the design principles of Issigonis with its creative use of space and driving fun. The Mini Recharged project is an opportunity to continue telling the story of the classic Mini in the 21st century, in a sustainable way.”
Mini added that the electric conversion “combines traditional values with future-oriented technology. The idea was born even before the brand had the Mini Electric on offer,” it notes, reporting that a one-off Mini Electric was shown at the New York Auto Show in 2018.
“The reactions were so positive that a dedicated team from Mini Plant Oxford set to work and developed the plan to make a corresponding offer available to customers who own a classic Mini.”
At the factory, the petroleum-fueled engine is replaced with a modern electric drive system.
However, “careful handling of the car’s historical heritage is an important part of the concept. This makes it possible to restore the classic Mini to its original condition at a later date. During the conversion, the original engine of each vehicle is marked and stored so it can be reused in the event of a future retrofit of the classic Mini.”
“With Mini Recharged, we are connecting the past with the future of the brand,” Mini head Bernd Körber is quoted.
“The Mini Recharged project means a vehicle’s life can be extended in a sustainable way,” the company explained. “A classic Mini can now be given a new lease of life, accompanying its owner into the future, whilst maintaining its much-loved heritage.”
In addition to the new power source, the recharged Minis gert a revised central instrument cluster displaying such things as drive temperature, gear, range and speed. Mini said range will be around 160 kilometers (around 100 miles).
“Mini Recharged fans gain a whole new driving experience; a silent drivetrain with instant acceleration and the ability to enter the electric or low-emission driving zones of many large cities, otherwise inaccessible with a combustion engine.
“For example, the electric classic Mini can drive in Oxford Street or Piccadilly Circus in London, without the driver having to pay congestion charge. In addition, the classic conversion does not need a new registration.”
The news release noted that 20 percent of new Minis are being sold with electrified power.
“Now, the Mini Recharged project will allow the brand’s classic vehicles to become an experience of the future, whilst still bringing joy from the past.”
At present, the program is available only in the UK.