Mini Recharged By Paul Smith Is EV Conversion Perfection
Converting classic cars to electric propulsion is an increasingly more popular business as many people are looking to future-proof their vintage cars by replacing their internal combustion engines with EV powertrains.
While rare and valuable classics should be left in stock form, many other models built in really high numbers are suitable for an EV conversion. The original Mini is among the first that comes to mind; with more than 5.3 million of them built from 1959 to 2000, this iconic city car can be turned into a zero-emissions daily driver without the remorse of ruining a classic.
We’ve already seen projects from various aftermarket companies based on the original Mini, and the automaker itself tested the waters with the Classic Mini Electric concept at the 2018 New York Auto Show. The vehicle’s success resulted in the founding of the Mini Recharged shop at BMW Group’s Oxford plant which specializes in electrifying classic Minis.
Now, Mini has come up with something really special, an EV conversion of the 1998 Mini Paul Smith Edition, a limited-run model built in 1,500 units.
Designed under the leadership of Sir Paul Smith, this one-off sustainable project is a tribute to the original prototype, which was painted a bright blue based on a swatch taken from one of fashion designer’s favorite shirts.
Gallery: Mini Recharged by Paul Smith
The new unique model, called Mini Recharged by Paul Smith, retains this color, while the lime green battery box recalls a 1990s color palette. The project is about respecting heritage and timeless design, particularly the iconic work of the classic Mini’s creator, Sir Alec Issigonis.
“When you move into your old aunt’s flat, out of respect you don’t change everything, but you do some modernizing. This car also respects the past.”
Sir Paul Smith
While Issigonis developed the original Mini in response to the oil crisis of 1959, placing emphasis on minimum fuel consumption and maximum use of space, the Mini Recharged by Paul Smith takes things further and makes “a 1990s car totally relevant for today,” according to the fashion icon.
The gasoline engine is replaced by a 72-kW (96-horsepower) electric motor, which should give the tiny car a significant performance boost. The powertrain conversion was done by UK company Recharged Heritage Limited, but we don’t get more specifications for now.
We do learn more about the interior, which features a radical minimalist approach inspired by last year’s Mini Strip Concept (also designed by Sir Paul Smith). The cabin deliberately lacks trim parts, with the body shell exposing its bare, unclad floor pan, while the rustic floor mats are made of recycled rubber on top.
The vehicle also features sustainable materials, a removable steering wheel, and a magnet next to it that accommodates the smartphone, which replaces almost all the old buttons and functions on the dashboard.
The Mini Recharged by Paul Smith will be on display June 7 through June 12 at the Salone del Mobile 2022 in Milan.
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