If Alec Issigonis could design the classic Mini again today, the iconic small car would have an electric motor. 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. To this day, MINI remains linked to the principles of designer 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.
The conversion of classic Minis to an electric drive combines traditional values with future-oriented technology. The idea was born even before the British premium manufacturer had a fully electric car on offer with the MINI Cooper SE (electricity consumption combined:17.6 – 15.2 kWh/100 km according to WLTP; CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km.). As a one-off, a classic Mini Electric was built in 2018 and presented at the New York Auto Show. 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.
To experience traditional go-kart handling with an emission-free drivetrain, the original petrol engine of the classic Mini is now a modern electric drive. Manufacturers are only reversing changes to the substance of the vehicle during the conversion as part of the MINI. Careful handling of the 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 manufacturers mark and store the original engine of each vehicle to reuse in the event of a future retrofit of the classic Mini.
“What the project team is developing preserves the character of the classic Mini and enables its fans to enjoy the all-electric performance. With MINI Recharged, we are connecting the past with the future of the brand,” says Bernd Körber, Head of the MINI Brand.
The MINI Recharged project means a vehicle’s life can be extended in a sustainable way. A classic Mini can now have a new lease of life, accompanying its owner into the future. All whilst maintaining its much-loved heritage. The drive is a modern electric motor that generates a continuous output of up to 90 kW. It also accelerates the electric classic Mini from zero to 100 km/h in approximately nine seconds. The energy is supplied by a high-voltage battery, which can be charged with an output of up to 6.6 kW. In addition, it enables a predicted range of around 160 kilometers. In addition, every electrified classic Mini from MINI Recharged 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.
MINI Recharged: Creating a Circular Economy
MINI Recharged fans gain a whole new driving experience. For example, a silent drivetrain with instant acceleration. In addition, the ability to enter the electric or low-emission driving zones of many large cities. The electric classic Mini can drive in Oxford Street or Piccadilly Circus in London. Once again be part of the cityscape, That’s without the driver having to pay an environmental tax (congestion charge) beforehand. In addition, the electric classic conversion does not need a new registration.
MINI Recharged fits seamlessly into the brand’s future strategy, which also includes the aspect of a circular economy. For this project, the manufacturer is not producing any new vehicles. Instead, they are creating them from existing cars. It allows a classic Mini to begin a second, more sustainable life. Today, one in five new MINI models has an electrified drive. Now the MINI Recharged project will be an experience combining the past and the future.
The bespoke upcycling of the classic Mini is launching in the United Kingdom. After converting the vehicle, each one has an individual number, making it unique. “Individuality also plays an important role with MINI Recharged,” says Sebastian Beuchel, Head of MINI Global Brand Management.