BMW stokes support for incoming MINI E with beautiful restoration and conversion of a 1960s classic
The BMW-owned MINI brand is set to present a very special model at the New York International Auto Show 2018: an all-electric version of the classic Mini.
The MINI Electric Concept was first announced at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, and paves the way for the arrival of the brand’s first all-electric vehicle in 2019 – just in time for the 60th anniversary of the classic Mini.
The fully electric production vehicle based on the MINI 3 Door is currently in development, and will be produced at MINI’s Oxford plant next year. Drumming up support for the brand in New York this week, the classic Mini Electric combines the historic look of the 1960s classic car with cutting-edge drive technology.
In 2008, BMW brand presented the MINI E, based on the predecessor model of the current MINI 3 Door. About 600 examples were produced and used in various field trials which paved the way for the development of BMW’s now-ubiquitous i3 in 2013.
By contrast – and much to our dismay – the classic Mini Electric presented in New York will remain unique, with a carefully restored example of the classic Mini Cooper as the basis for its design. The red paint is complemented by a contrast white roof and bonnet strip, with the yellow MINI Electric logo on the wheel hubs.
Nevertheless, BMW says that the electric classic remains “true to the brand” both in terms of its visual appearance and driving characteristics. The instant torque of its electric motor offers a new dimension to the “go-kart feeling” that helped propel the British small car in its original form to worldwide popularity, the automaker added.
Heritage models like the original Mini offer a neat way to introduce consumers to the possibilities of electric models, not to mention stoking enthusiasm for hobbyists and classic conversions. Perhaps most notably, last year Jaguar unveiled an electric version of its iconic E-type with a bespoke 220-kW powertrain. At the time the company said it would consider a production run if demand for the model was high enough.
There is, then, still hope that BMW might listen to the waves of adoration that this plucky little model is likely to generate. Failing that, we’ll have to wait until 2019 for its all-electric descendant to hit the road.