Mini marvel is a classic

25 February 2019

AN interesting example of how car companies are cashing-in on the electric car craze is unveiled this week, which on the face of it makes no sense at all.

It is basically an electric version of the original Mini with a whopping price tag of a remarkable £80,000, which is about ten times the amount for which you could get a classic petrol equivalent.

Nonetheless, there is always demand for the unusual, which this certainly is, and the makers confidently expect to shift the lot.

Ironically, considering the events of this week, it proudly takes the name of the Swind E Classic Mini, with the Swind bit being named after Honda’s home town of Swindown where it is made.

The newcomer represents a diversification for the motorsport specialist company of Swindon Powertrain, which is probably best known for producing high-performance engines for British Touring Car contenders.

Now, like so many car companies, it is turning its attention to batteries rather than fossil fuels, with the electric version of the diminutive original Mini being its new offering.

From the outside it looks just like any other original Mini from the swinging sixties, albeit in mint condition.

However, replacing the small petrol engine is an 80kw motor that enables owners to avoid congestion charges.   

This is the equivalent of a power output of 110bhp generated by the lithium battery containing 24kWh of energy plus the electric motor.

It can be charged in four hours by means of a standard charger, with an optional fast charge system also offered.

This results in a range of 125 miles with regenerative braking and although the nominal top speed is 80mph with acceleration to 60mph in just over nine seconds, maximising the performance impacts upon the driving range significantly.

As with all electric vehicles, instant acceleration is always on tap, with an impressive 30-50mph overtaking time of just 4.3 seconds.

With the petrol tank ditched, there is 200 litres of space for the batteries at the back, with some more at the front, which results in good weight distribution.

Inside, the standard equipment is an advance over the original, with

USB charging ports, underfloor heating, heated leather seats and heated front and rear windscreens.

Those who want to get the price inching towards the £100,000 mark can add an array of extra-cost options.

These include an infotainment and sat-nav system, power steering, a full-length sliding fabric roof, air conditioning, performance-tuning packs and bespoke paint colours in addition to the standard half dozen.

On the face of it then, this remarkably expensive little electric car makes little sense in comparison to a Sunderland-built electric Nissan LEAF that does everything the Mini does plus a shedload more for a fraction of the price.

However, what price nostalgia?