No, we’re not talking about the Mini Cooper SE based on the new Mini Hatch that parent company BMW unveiled in the 2000s. We’re referring to the Mk I to Mk VII Mini Cooper on sale from 1959, the original classic Mini. In its latest press release, BMW has launched the Mini Recharged project aimed at existing Mini owners who want to convert their vintage, gas-powered mini cars to an all-electric model.
Images: The BMW Group
“What the project team is developing preserves the character of the classic Mini and enables its fans to enjoy an all-electric performance,” said Bernd Körber, Head of the MINI Brand. The brand was already dabbling in electrification with its one-off electric Mini unveiled in 2018. The car drew positive reactions at the New York Auto Show, so the team at Mini Plant Oxford worked to develop a blueprint for its latest restomod.
The plan is easy as it sounds. Unbolt the old gas engine and transmission, and replace it with an electric drivetrain consisting of a single electric motor and a high-voltage battery pack. We initially thought BMW referred to the 181-horsepower electric motor in the new Cooper SE. Still, the Mini Recharged has a less high-strung 90 kW power unit generating around 121 horsepower – not bad for a mini car.
The motor draws power from a still-unspecified battery pack, capable of accepting up to 6.6 kW of charging and eking out 99 miles (160 km) of range. “With Mini Recharged, we are connecting the past with the future of the brand,” added Körber. Other changes include a new central instrument panel with specific displays for the range, vehicle speed, transmission gear, and drive temperature.
With its new EV powertrain, Mini Recharged can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in nine seconds, about two seconds slower than the modern Cooper SE. But what the latter doesn’t have is the iconic styling DNA of Mini designer Alec Issigonis. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, everything retro is back in style, and we reckon classic Mini owners will show up in droves for the Mini Recharge conversion.
The best news? The entire Recharge process is entirely reversible. BMW promises that each original engine will be carefully marked and stored for future retrofitting. Oh, and the conversion from gas to electric doesn’t require a new vehicle registration (local state laws may apply). Pricing remains unannounced, but we expect the conversion to cost around £25,000 or roughly $33,693.