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BMW will convert classic old Minis to fully-electric status


The Mini recharge project is combining electric power with the traditional body shape of the Minis of the 1960s

The idea to convert classic Mini hatchbacks from decades gone by occurred well before the full-EV, new-gen Cooper SE rolled off BMW’s Plant Oxford production line in 1959.

Dubbed the Recharge project, an electric-converted classic Mini concept was first presented to the public at the 2018 New York Auto Show. Reactions were so positive that BMW established a dedicated team in Oxford to create a conversion subdivision to serve owners of classic Mini products.

Mini recharged project build engine bay
Out with the old four-cylinder engine, in with an electric motor and battery pack

How are classic Minis converted to electric power?

To create the electric Mini, the original petrol power plant is removed from the car and is replaced by an electric drive unit. Extra care is taken with handling the historical heritage so that the car could potentially be returned to its original petrol-powered state at a later date. Each engine is marked and stored to be used at a later stage if requested by the owner.

An electric motor making 90kW of power is installed in place of the old petrol engine, giving a 0-100km/h time of 9.0 seconds – making the upgraded classic Minis about twice as fast as their 1960s 18sec 0-60mph sprint times.

Mini recharged project build
The Recharged team at Mini Oxford do all the hard work

Battery range for the Mini classic electric is an estimated 160km – sufficient for getting around town. A specific battery size has not been given but Chasing Cars estimates this at between 20-25kWh. Mini promises that the electric car retains its go-kart-like characteristics thanks to the instant torque of the electric motor and its original lively chassis. 

Every electrified classic Mini also receives a central instrument cluster which displays information such as drive temperature, selected gear, range and speed. It’s an analogue unit which harks back to the original items found on the original 1959 Mini. 

Mini recharged project team
The proud team of the Recharge project giving new life to Minis in the UK

By adding a new heart to a classic model, Mini have been able to offer a much more sustainable alternative to simply replacing a car old for new, which takes into account the sheer amount of processing power by a factory to create a Mini Cooper from scratch. 

The Mini recharge project is carried out exclusively in the United Kingdom, in the same factory and town that builds the brand new Mini Cooper electric.