When thinking about the classic Mini, it brings up delightful images of quaint English villages, cobblestone paths, and teatime. Not to mention that iconic buddy-bandit movie The Italian Job – both versions! This beloved car was formed in response to a wartime fuel crisis; while certainly miniature and economical with its gas consumption, it also became an overpowering sales hit.
The Austin, Morris, and Cooper variations of the wee-car were an unstoppable force from 1959 to 2000 – two million units sold within its first ten years alone. By the time production ended in 2000, nearly 5.5 million had spread out across the world.
The classic Mini drives like a bumbling Mr. Bean, initially quirky and fun but soon becoming tiresome. With its prison-cell level amenities plus pogo stick suspension, it’s not exactly sought after for comfortability – never mind its lack of power on the expressway or size for grocery runs! Despite this, there is an undeniable charm to this vehicle that transcends time; nostalgia made modern with one simple swap: going electric in 2022! No longer are we talking about LS varieties – nope, it’s all about electricity now.
This isn’t merely a concept vehicle either. In 2018, the automaker already made its mark at the New York Auto Show with an electrified classic Mini – aptly named “Mini Recharged Heritage”; allowing vintage enthusiasts to experience modern emissions-free transportation. Even though their name might be a bit clunky, transitioning from traditional internal combustion models into zero-emission vehicles is remarkably smooth.
The keys to a prototype of my Mini were presented to me, with a 1985 Mini Cooper as the base vehicle. The whole body had been completely wrapped up and the charging unit was exposed in the trunk for all to see, while an AEM performance monitor was fastened onto the dash. This test mule felt raw but gave us genuine insight into what we could anticipate from our ultimate product.