Born again: the Classic Mini Electric debuts in New York
One-off retro EV brings Italian Job style bang up to date
The original Mini from the early 1960s is one of the most iconic vehicles ever made and arguably put the British car industry on the world map.
As times have changed, compact cars have grown to almost double the size of the original Mini to accommodate more people and house better safety equipment. BMW bought Mini in 2000, replacing the popular city car with a funky - if a little large - alternative, of conventional hatchback proportions.
With bigger cars filling up congested and polluted cities, the car industry could do with another ultra-compact and efficient city runabout on the market.
BMW has just the thing. On the eve of the New York Motor Show, it has announced the Classic Mini Electric and, as the name suggests, the new Mini is an electrified version of the 58-year-old original.
The retro-looking city car swaps its original four-cylinder petrol engine for lithium-ion batteries. According to Autocar, the Classic Mini Electric is capable of travelling 65 miles on a single charge and comes with a top speed of just 75mph.
The EV’s red paint job, white stripe and grille-mounted headlamps are reminiscent of one of the original Minis from The Italian Job, although the electric version will be significantly quieter than the petrol-powered cars from the movie.
There are a few design tweaks to help fans distinguish the Classic Mini Electric from a regular version, such as the charging socket stickers down the wings of the car and a special badge that appears on the brand’s EVs.
Unfortunately, the Classic Mini Electric is a one-off model and BMW has yet to reveal whether it will put the retro EV into production if the demand is there.
A new electrified Mini model is on the horizon, but it will take the form of the company’s newer hatchbacks. This particular model is due to arrive next year, but the firm has yet to announce a release date.
For now, classic Mini fans will have to make do with regular, gas-guzzling examples from the 1960s.