Electric cars don’t have to be new and modern – the Mini Recharged shows how things can be done differently. Electric and with a lot of charm. The first ride.
Restomod – everyone is talking about a trend. From the world of fashion and furniture, Restomod – the apparently perfect symbiosis of yesterday and tomorrow – has dug its way into the automotive world. An old car with new technology? What was pure boredom with a combustion engine looks completely different with an electric motor. The reason is obvious, because an electric drive turns a classic car with a combustion engine into a completely different car. The Restomod models play an advantage for themselves. They rely on the tried and tested, play with the familiar and remind you of the good old days.
The electric models are not entirely undisputed, because one or the other classic car fan considers the models refreshed with new technology to be Frankenstein’s children or a disparagement of automotive cultural heritage. If a classic lends itself to a drive transplant, then it’s the Classic Mini.
The Mini is small, sexy, light and has an exemplary weight distribution, which is further enhanced by the underbody battery pack. “We managed to keep the original weight,” says Jonathan Harper of Mini Sport, who are doing the electric transformation.
The electric motor with its 72 kW / 98 hp only has to move 650 kilograms – so there’s a lot going on at the wheel. As with the modern Mini Cooper SE, the technicians have drawn a subframe into the engine compartment in order to be able to accommodate the electric machine accordingly. At the wheel of the electric speedster you feel at home straight away, because it’s the Mini that you’ve known for decades. The steering column that rises steeply, the sofa seats, round instruments and the gear stick on the left. Sure, we’re in the home of the Mini.
At second glance, there are some peculiarities that come with the electric drive. The right small round instrument shows the range. reassuring. Because the two battery packs have a capacity of 19 kilowatt hours – 11.25 at the front and 7.75 kWh at the rear, which should be enough for a manageable 160 kilometers. The classic is therefore nothing for long distances.
He makes rather lukewarm on the way to the office or to go shopping. Of course: the short gear lever does not operate the manual transmission, but selects the driving mode. We return to the interior, where the Mini Sport squad did a good job and skillfully plays the retro card without diluting the original flair. Only a small nameplate reveals that the Mini left the factory in 1986. Such details as the USB connection next to the classic hard plastic toggle switches show that the Mini Recharged has also found its way into the modern age. However, so much expertise comes at a price. If you want to put such an E-Mini in the garage, you have to put at least 49,250 euros on the table – just for the conversion.
We shift the lever to D and start rolling. The Mini-Recharged does not alienate, but conveys that familiarity that one is used to from the brothers with combustion engines. It quickly becomes clear that the same applies to this Mini: the straight line is the shortest connection between curves. As soon as it turns the corner, the electric speedster reveals those genes that have made these vehicles the agility artists with which such steering wheel gods as the later multiple Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda earned their first spurs in racing . We’re far from the skill of such a racing legend, but the Mini Recharged makes it easy for us. The little Brit willingly follows the pilot’s wishes and carves around every corner just as confidently as his ancestors. The combination of 12-inch wheels and a low center of gravity make the E-Mini a real corner hunter.
This slalom hardware is supplemented by the electric motor with its torque of 150 Newton meters, which effortlessly flips the little speedster forward. Especially in race driving mode, the Mini Recharged plays out its full fun potential and steps up so vehemently that the driver of a sports car freezes the pitying, mocking grin when he spots us. After all, the nimble Briton completes the standard sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 8.5 seconds. But those who are “satisfied” with the pure or sport setting and less power than with “Race” are still pretty fast on the road. The range of 166 km and the top speed of 145 km/h are sufficient for the city anyway. In any case, the Mini Recharged is sure to make a cool appearance.
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