The electrification of classic cars is always kind of a sticky subject. On the one hand, there is something to be said for originality and preserving the driving experience that the factory intended. Conversely, if the car's original drivetrain was only OK and not something extraordinary like a small-displacement V12 or a high-revving flat-six, then conversion to electric power could make a massive difference in how pleasant the car is to drive in modern traffic.
That's why we're super excited about Mini's announcement on Tuesday that it would offer reversible, factory-quality EV conversions for original Minis called Mini Recharged. The Mini experience is all about the chassis and suspension and less about the buzzy little four-cylinder engine making double-digit power. The fact that Mini's conversion procedure doesn't involve any cutting or other irreversible modifications means that owners worried about their car's future value can swap it back at any time.
The process involves fitting a modern electric motor and a 6.6-kilowatt-hour battery, which, combined, are good for around 99 miles of range on the WLTP cycle and a continuous output of around 120 horsepower. That, plus the instant torque of an electric powertrain means that a Mini thusly converted will likely be thrilling to drive, maybe even borderline terrifying.
Also included in the conversion is a new center instrument display -- a classic feature of Minis back to their introduction in the 1950s and carried through all the way to today. The new display features drive temperature, selected gear, range and speed but looks period-appropriate.
It's not clear if Mini is using components fromor if they're using off-the-shelf components from some other supplier. Either way, the work being done by the Mini factory in the UK means the quality of the conversion should be high. Each converted vehicle also gets a unique number, which the new owner can show off.
Mini isn't saying how much each conversion costs, but considering the need to get your car to the factory in the UK, plus all the parts and labor, we're guessing it will be somewhere between "a lot" and "eye-watering."