Swind electrifies classic Mini for limited production run
Though the BMW Group teased a classic electric Mini at the 2018 New York Auto Show, details were scant and the upcoming battery-electric production model is going to have a modern, rather than retro, look to it. If you're hankering for the iconic Mini aesthetic but want it running on clean, modern tech, the UK's Swindon Powertrain – or Swind – is here to help.
Swind unveiled the first of its limited run E Classic Minis at the London Classic Car Show this week. Left- or right-hand drive versions are being made available, though only 100 in total will be produced.
"This is the first time an electrified classic Mini has entered production," said the company's Raphael Caillé. "There have been one-offs and prototypes before, but Swind is the first company to launch such a car to the public. The classic Mini has such a special place in people's hearts, not only in the UK but around the world. The packaging of Sir Alec Issigonis' 1959 design was truly ground-breaking and now we are making it relevant again. Its compact size and good visibility, together with contemporary performance and handling, makes it a car you'll want to drive in the city and put a smile on your face."
The Swind E Classic Mini host cars have their bodywork completely restored before the company installs its own electric powertrain comprising an 80 kW motor and 24 kWh Li-ion battery pack. Drivers can expect a range of 125 miles (200 km) per four hour charge using a Type 2 connector, though a fast charging option is available, and a sprint from standstill to 60 mph (0-100 km/h) in 9.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of 80 mph (130 km/h).
While those performance specs are a little disappointing when compared to new electric vehicles entering the market this year – such as the Leaf e+ and the PV-packed Sion – they should be sufficient to fulfill its role as eye-catching city runabout.
Inside, owners can look forward to USB charging points for mobile devices, an infotainment and sat-nav system, power steering, air conditioning, and heating in the seats, front/rear windshield and under the floor.
The car can manage a turning circle of 8.6 meters (28.2 ft). Swind has succeeded in keeping the weight down, with the E Classic tipping the scales at only 80 kg heavier than the host car. Weight distribution is more even (at 57/43 percent, compared to 68/32 percent of the ICE Mini), and there's more space in the trunk, thanks to the removal of the petrol tank.
The E Classic Mini prototype has undergone more than 10,000 miles of real-world testing and thousands of hours of simulated powertrain testing to make sure the production models are ready to roll.
Pricing for the electric two-door, four seater starts at £79,000 (about US$100k).