A committed team from the MINI plant in Oxford came up with the idea of creating sustainable driving fun in a classic car. An electric motor for the original combines tradition with pioneering technology – in the spirit of the circular economy.
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If Alec Issigonis could design the classic Mini again today, the iconic small car would certainly have an electric motor. After all, the original presented in 1959 was created during an oil crisis and was based on the idea of saving fuel and transporting four occupants and their luggage in the smallest possible footprint. The principle of creative use of space and the driving pleasure that comes with it still connects MINI with the original ideas of the designer Issigonis to this day. With the MINI Recharged project, there is now the opportunity to continue telling the story of the classic Mini in the 21st century in a particularly sustainable way.
The conversion of the brand’s classic vehicles to an electric drive combines traditional values with future-oriented technology. The idea for this arose even before the British premium manufacturer launched a fully electric car in the MINI Cooper SE (combined power consumption: 17.6–15.2 kWh/100 km according to WLTP; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km.). had offer. A unique classic Mini Electric was built in 2018 and presented at the New York Auto Show. The reactions at the time were so positive that a dedicated team from the MINI plant in Oxford developed a plan to make a corresponding offer available to customers who own a classic Mini.
In order to bring traditional driving fun to life with a locally emission-free drive, the original petrol engine of the classic Mini has been replaced by a modern electric drive. No irrevocable changes are made to the substance of the vehicle during the conversion as part of MINI Recharged. The careful handling of the historical heritage is an important part of the concept. This means that it is even possible to restore the classic Mini to its original condition at a later date. For this purpose, the original engine of each vehicle is marked and stored in the course of the conversion. In this way, it can be reused in the event of a possible retrofitting of the classic Mini.
“What the project team in Great Britain developed preserves the character of the classic Mini and enables all-electric driving fun for its fans. With MINI Recharged, we are connecting the past with the future of the brand,” says Bernd Körber, head of the MINI brand.
With MINI Recharged, the lifecycle of a vehicle can be sustainably extended. Because even in the event of an engine failure, a classic Mini can now be saved from the end and sent on a journey through time that takes its owner both into the past and into the future. A modern electric motor is available to drive this, which generates a continuous output of up to 90 kW and accelerates the electrified classic Mini from zero to 100 km/h in around 9 seconds. The energy for this is supplied by a high-voltage battery that can be charged with an output of up to 6.6 kW and enables a predicted range of around 160 kilometers. In addition, as part of MINI Recharged, every electrified classic Mini receives the characteristic central instrument that has been known since the early days of the classic car, which now also displays the drive temperature, the gear selected and the remaining range in addition to the speed.
Fans of the classic Mini who are fulfilling their desire for locally emission-free driving fun with MINI Recharged do not need to re-register their vehicle after the conversion. But the driving experience changes for them – and not just because of the now almost noiseless drive. With their electrified classic, they can get to places that were previously inaccessible. Thanks to its purely electric drive, the classic Mini can drive in the environmental zones of many large cities, for example. And the original can now also be part of the cityscape again on Oxford Street or Piccadilly Circus in Great Britain’s capital London, without the driver having to pay an environmental fee beforehand.
MINI Recharged fits seamlessly into the brand’s future strategy, which also includes the aspect of the circular economy. Because no new vehicle is being produced for this project, but the driving fun of tomorrow is being created from traditional stock. In this way, a second, particularly sustainable vehicle life can begin for many a classic Mini. While almost every fifth new MINI now has an electrified drive, love for the brand’s classic vehicles is also becoming a locally emission-free experience that connects the past and the future.
The unique upcycling of the classic Mini is carried out exclusively in Great Britain. Each converted vehicle is individually numbered, making it unique. “Individuality also plays an important role with MINI Recharged,” says Sebastian Beuchel, Head of MINI Global Brand Management. “On the basis of the classic Mini, unique vehicles and true works of art on wheels have always been created. Therefore, a collaboration with well-known artists is planned for the future, whose creativity will be expressed in a very specially designed classic Mini from the MINI Recharged program.” www.bmwgroup.com