Back in 2018 — a time that feels like both yesterday and an eternity ago — Mini stole the headlines at the New York Auto Show with the Mini Electric, a one-off EV conversion of a classic Mini. From just about everyone, the response to the Mini Electric was some variation of "I want one." One could argue it was a bigger hit than the eventual electric car it was meant to promote.
And now, Mini has just announced they will build those EVs for customers.
The program is called Mini Recharged. Essentially, a dedicated team at Mini Plant Oxford receives an owner's classic Mini and swaps out the combustion drivetrain for an electric one. The owner can keep right on driving their classic Mini into the future without being subject to future restrictions or congestion charges. Mini says the process is reversible, and the original components are stored in case an owner wants to reinstall them.
The Mini Recharged electric powertrain delivers about 120 horsepower and can propel a classic Mini from 0-62 mph in about nine seconds, which isn't off the pace for a classic car. Mini estimates it will be capable of around 100 miles of range on a single charge. One sacrifice is that the conversion also converts the vehicle to an automatic transmission. No word from Mini yet on pricing, build timelines or whether you can ship over your left-hand drive model from America.
One could see the Mini recharged idea catching on. Nostalgia has become a significant force in the automotive industry. Resto-modded vehicles often sell for more than their modern counterparts. And in some cases — hello, new Ford Bronco — their popularity is driving product planning.
In many of those cars, dealing with an aging, smelly and by modern standards underpowered engine with renowned flaws is the least enjoyable part of the experience. And that's before you get to the inefficiency and potential legal restrictions. Engine swaps to modern engines are already a standard operating procedure for old Defenders and Land Cruisers...and the definition of "modern engine" is set to change in the next few years.