Swind E Classic Mini: All the traditional charm of the classic Mini

Swindon Powertrain has combined those beguiling baby-faced looks with the electric motor’s environmental sustainability. The only hang-up? The price, says Sean O’Grady

Wednesday 20 February 2019 18:12 GMT
‘The packaging of Sir Alec Issigonis’s 1959 design was truly groundbreaking and now we are making it relevant again’
‘The packaging of Sir Alec Issigonis’s 1959 design was truly groundbreaking and now we are making it relevant again’

Electric car = Good. Classic Mini = Good. Therefore Electric Classic Mini = Very Good?

Mostly, yes. As a concept, it is highly attractive. Yet, as with most things to do with electric cars, and indeed old Minis, there is a snag. In this case, the price tag. You’ll need some £79,000 to get your hands on one of these, which, lovable and innovative as this conversion is, does demand a lot of devotion.

That aside…

The Swind E Classic Mini, made by Swindon Powertrain (er, in Swindon), has all the traditional charm and enjoyment you associate with the Mini. So the A-series engine is chucked out, along with all its ancillaries such as the radiator, and in comes a lithium ion battery containing 24kWh of energy, and an electric motor producing 80kw of power (the equivalent of 110bhp, against say 40bhp on an older Mini 1000). Without the traditional heating coming from the engine, Swindon Powertrain also fit novel underfloor heating into the restored bodywork of the otherwise standard Mini. The usual petrol tank, in the boot, is also redundant, which makes for a little more luggage capacity.

Retro switches amid a sleek interior

The Swind E Classic Mini boasts a 125-mile (200km) range, which is not as good as the latest electric designs form Nissan or Hyundai, but adequate for most needs; and the form quotes a 0-60mph time of 9.2 seconds, an improvement on most older Minis, and a top speed of 80mph.

The great advantage of electric power for the driver is that it produces a smooth delivery of impressive power and acceleration from rest, though it tends to run out of puff as speed increases. Added to the Mini’s go-kart-style handling it should make for a fun city car. For those unfamiliar with the original Mini, made from 1959 to 2000, the compact proportions, seating four, will be a revelation, and there are few vehicles better at getting through city jams and making the most of a tight parking space. Also, those baby-faced looks remain completely beguiling.

Swindon Powertrain say that theirs is an “individual, nippy, zero-emissions city car with character”: “To ensure the E Classic Mini can stand up to the rigours of today’s driving, the prototype has completed over 10,000 real world miles alongside thousands of hours of virtual simulations of the bespoke powertrain. Contemporary corrosion protection together with completely new brake and suspension parts ensure Swind’s E Classic Mini is substantially easier to live with than other classics.”

The first electrified classic Mini to be launched to the public

Swindon Powertrain’s managing director Raphael Caillé adds: “This is the first time an electrified classic Mini has entered production. There have been one-offs and prototypes before, but Swind is the first company to launch such a car to the public. The classic Mini has such a special place in people’s hearts, not only in the UK but around the world. The packaging of Sir Alec Issigonis’s 1959 design was truly groundbreaking and now we are making it relevant again. Its compact size and good visibility, together with contemporary performance and handling, makes it a car you’ll want to drive in the city and put a smile on your face.”

Standard features include USB charging ports, heated leather seats and front and rear windscreen. Options include infotainment and satnav system, power steering, a full-length sliding fabric roof, air conditioning, performance tuning packs and bespoke paint colours.

For more information visit swind.life

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