Automotive

Mini Recharged project electrifies iconic compact city car

Mini Recharged project electri...
The Mini Recharged project converts classic Minis to an electric drivetrain
The Mini Recharged project converts classic Minis to an electric drivetrain
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The Mini Recharged project converts classic Minis to an electric drivetrain
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The Mini Recharged project converts classic Minis to an electric drivetrain
The Mini Recharge team is based at the Mini plant in Oxford, UK
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The Mini Recharge team is based at the Mini plant in Oxford, UK
The original petrol engine from the classic Mini is removed, marked and stored in case the owner wishes to restore the vehicle to its original condition at a later date
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The original petrol engine from the classic Mini is removed, marked and stored in case the owner wishes to restore the vehicle to its original condition at a later date
The electric motor has a continuous output of 90 kW and the battery pack offers up to 160 km of per-charge range
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The electric motor has a continuous output of 90 kW and the battery pack offers up to 160 km of per-charge range
The Mini Recharged conversion can be juiced up using a 6.6-kW charger
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The Mini Recharged conversion can be juiced up using a 6.6-kW charger
The Mini Recharged team says that only reversible changes are made during the conversion, making it possible to restore the vehicle to its original configuration if desired
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The Mini Recharged team says that only reversible changes are made during the conversion, making it possible to restore the vehicle to its original configuration if desired
The original central instrument cluster looks the same but has been upgraded to show electric drive info
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The original central instrument cluster looks the same but has been upgraded to show electric drive info
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Following positive rumblings about a one-off electrified classic Mini at the New York Auto Show in 2018, a team at the Mini plant in Oxford started a side project to produce more. Now BMW has announced the fruits of those labors, the Mini Recharged project.

The original Mini was introduced in 1959 as a compact two-door for the masses. Seating four and offering a little room for luggage in back, the front-wheel-drive pop-culture icon was designed by Sir Alec Issigonis and went on to sell nearly five and a half million units by the time production ended in 2000. A new generation was introduced in mid-2001, and an all-electric Mini Cooper SE launched in 2019.

We've seen a number of companies retrofit electric drivetrains in classic Minis to give existing cars a new lease of life in the upcoming electric age, and now BMW joins the likes of Swind and London Electric Cars to do the same under the Mini Recharged project.

The conversion engineers whip out a classic model's combustion engine and replace it with an electric motor capable of 90 kW continuous output for a zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint in around nine seconds. A battery pack is also installed that's reported good for up to 160 km (~100 miles) of per-charge range, and can be topped up using a 6.6-kW charger. And the central instrument cluster has been updated to show electric drive information.

The electric motor has a continuous output of 90 kW and the battery pack offers up to 160 km of per-charge range
The electric motor has a continuous output of 90 kW and the battery pack offers up to 160 km of per-charge range

Buyers benefit from the classic go-kart handling of old while gaining clean and quiet motoring with instant torque for a fun city drive, and given the zero tailpipe emissions here the car can enter low-emission zones and "once again be part of the cityscape" without the driver having to pay environmental taxes.

BMW points out that the converted car does not need to be re-registered, and much of the classic Mini remains intact. Any updates made during the process can be reversed at a later stage if desired. Indeed, given its iconic status, the Recharged team marks and stores the original removed combustion engine should owners wish to restore the vehicle to its original configuration down the line.

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

BMW hasn't revealed pricing details for Mini Recharged conversions, but they will all be undertaken in the UK. Each newly-electrified vehicle will be individually numbered, and there's also talk of the project partnering with "well-known artists" for special edition models.

Source: BMW

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7 comments
7 comments
paul314
They're going to need to get Rowan Atkinson involved somehow. Or maybe a robotic double...
minivini
There is a great deal of joy and satisfaction from eeking out the last possible oomph from a classic Mini. I had a carbureted 1275 that I successfully campaigned in NASA and SCCA autocross from 2002-2008. I’d love to go at an EV version that had a relatively open software platform and the same suspension upgrades.
Synchro
I really like retro-electrification projects, and these Minis look great. They are so much nicer than the monstrous "new Mini" design travesties that BMW has perpetrated.
Chase
Hmm, no mention of how much the ~28KWh battery pack adds to the curb weight of the originally 1,300lb car.
vince
Why are the Mini's EVs so pathetic on power and range?
jerryd
Nice but way too pricey, you could buy a nice Tesla or 3 likely.
A 28kwh battery would weigh about 350lbs, less than the motor and total weight about the same as the ICE version. All my conversions have come in under ICE weight, even my MCs.
TomLeeM
I think it is a neat idea but only if the engine is no longer usable. If they engine is still good and they are trashing it just to make it an electric vehicle, it is a waste. why not just get a new Mini Cooper that is made to be an electric vehicle? this is just my opinion.