Classic Mini owners can now order a factory electric conversion for their diminutive gas-powered hatchbacks through the Mini Recharged program announced today. As if the old Minis weren’t cool enough as they came from the factory, the Recharged conversion puts a modern spin on the once-groundbreaking small cars. Where did this idea come from? The British automaker first revealed a one-off electrified vintage Mini at the 2018 New York Auto Show, and the experimental build earned such a favorable reception—no surprise given the emergent popularity of EV-converted old cars—Mini decided to formalize it into a customer offering.
The electric conversion takes place at Mini’s Oxford factory in the U.K. All necessary wiring and electronics, including an updated instrument cluster to display range and speed, are installed to manage the (also included) electric motor and battery pack. This process, of course, entails removing several mechanical components, namely the engine, transmission, fuel tank, and exhaust. These parts are labeled and stored should a customer later decide to return their Mini to old-fashioned power. That’s right, the modifications are reversible.
Introduced in 1959, the original Mini rolled off the assembly line during an oil crisis as a highly unconventional, fuel-efficient compact vehicle spacious enough to fit four passengers. Its signature wheels-at-the-corners layout, transverse front-drive powertrain, and boxy profile not only carved out usable cabin space despite its footprint, but lent the lightweight runabout giant-slaying agility that helped it become a motorsport icon.
By switching the old Mini to an electric drivetrain, owners can adapt their classic Minis to the latest powertrain technology while keeping the cars’ cheeky wrappers. These battery-electric classic Minis’ electric motors deliver 120 hp (strong given how early Minis’ engines produced mere double-digit horsepower) and offer approximately 100 miles of driving range; acceleration from zero to 62 mph requires 9.0 seconds (again, quick by early Mini standards).
Mini did not release additional specification details—such as how large the battery is—or say how much the conversion costs. All converted vehicles receive a unique number. As part of the Recharged program, the BMW-owned manufacturer will collaborate with well-known artists to produce special editions, too.