Mini Recharged project to electrify brand's classic models

5 months ago - 29 January 2022, autocar
Mini Recharged project to electrify brand's classic models
Owners of original-shape Minis will be offered an official conversion to a full EV set-up

Mini has launched a new in-house programme dedicated to electrifying its older models as the latest step in a wide-reaching campaign to promote the car maker’s sustainability credentials.

The new Mini Recharged project – developed by a team of workers at the firm’s Oxford factory, following a positive reaction to the one-off electrified Mini shown in 2018 – has been devised as a means of “telling the story of the classic Mini in the 21st century, in a sustainable way”. According to the brand, the concept was conceived even before the launch of the series-production Mini Electric hatch.

Owners of the original-shape Mini – produced under various nameplates from 1959 until 2000 – will eventually be able to have their car’s four-cylinder A-series engine swapped for a 121bhp electric motor. That will enable the car to cover 0-62mph in around 9.0sec – far quicker than any of the original engines offered. The four-speed manual gearbox makes way for a single-speed item.

Power is stored in a battery of undisclosed capacity. It is charged via a new port under the original filler cap at speeds of up to 6.6kW and is capable of a claimed 99 miles of range. The remaining battery capacity is displayed in a new dial as part of a reimagined version of the original gauge cluster.

The conversion does not require the car to be re-registered and can be reversed at a later stage with the reinstallation of the original motor, which is marked and stored rather than being disposed of.

Mini says the new Recharged project “fits seamlessly into the brand’s future strategy, which also includes the aspect of circular economy”, noting that it will put new electric cars on the road without building them from the ground up.

Mini boss Bernd Körber, who is leaving the firm in February to head product management at BMW, said the project “preserves the character of the classic Mini and enables its fans to enjoy all-electric performance” and Mini is “connecting the past with the future of the brand”.

No price for the Recharged conversion has been announced but, for reference, Swindon Powertrain’s EV conversion kit for the original Mini, which includes a 107bhp motor and can be equipped with a 12kW battery, costs £10,620 including VAT.

Further details are expected in the coming months as the scheme’s details are finalised.

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