BMW Group is running a ‘Mini Recharged’ program to ‘future-proof’ original Mini models built before the German brand’s takeover, by making them all-electric.

    Aftermarket providers already do similar up-cycling of classic cars – Lunaz and Australia’s own Jaunt come to mind – but this program wears the official BMW Mini stamp of approval.

    A team based at the main Mini plant in Oxford, UK, received the green-light after a one-off concept revealed at the 2018 New York Auto Show drew rave reviews.

    “What the project team are developing preserves the character of the classic Mini and enables its fans to enjoy all-electric performance. With Mini Recharged, we are connecting the past with the future of the brand,” says head of the Mini brand Bernd Körber.

    By going EV, classic Minis in this incarnation will be free to drive through London without drawing a congestion tax. In addition, the electric classic conversion does not need a new registration, Mini says.

    The petrol engine is removed and replaced by a maximum 90kW electric motor that can punt the tiny terrier to 100km/h in about 9 seconds. The battery pack (no capacity provided) offers a claimed 160km of urban range, though it only accepts slow 6.6kW AC charging.

    Every electrified classic Mini also receives the characteristic central instrument cluster, familiar since the early days of the classic, which now displays the drive temperature, the selected gear, range and speed.

    It’s also possible to restore the EV Mini to its original condition at a later date if desired. 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.

    “If Alec Issigonis could design the classic Mini again today, the iconic small car would have an electric motor,” BMW claims.

    “After all, the original launched in 1959 was 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 Mini Recharged project is an opportunity to continue telling the story of the classic Mini in the 21st century, in a sustainable way.”

    If you’re an Aussie Mini enthusiast and have a donor vehicle secured plus cash for shipping, there’s no obvious reason why you couldn’t indulge…

    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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