Electric powertrain swaps are going to be hugely popular over the next decade or so. As regulations change and internal combustion engine emissions become less and less acceptable, the only way to keep classic cars alive will be to swap them over to electric. Also, it’s sort of just cool to have a vintage car with a modern electric powertrain under the skin. One of the best cars to electro-swap is the classic Mini Cooper, as its hilariously compact size makes it the perfect car for electric city driving.
Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to do such a swap. Swindon Powertrain in the UK is now offering an electric powertrain kit for the classic Mini that not only converts the Cooper over to electric but does so in a simple way.
For £8,850 ($11,497), you get the entire Swindon electric powertrain unit, dubbed the HPD E Powertrain, and it’s literally a bolt on unit. Essentially, you drop the old Mini Cooper engine, transmission axles, subframe and anything else that’s under the hood. The new powertrain is comprised of an electric motor, standard differential (limited-slip diff is an option), CV joint housings that hold original Mini axles and the entire front subframe bracket. So the entire thing, subrame and all, just bolts right up. No modification needs to be done to the Mini at all.
Additionally, Swindon offers a 12 kWh battery pack that sits atop the powertrain, where the engine used to be.
“We’ve registered over 500 requests for more information on the HPD E system since it launched, many of which are classic Mini owners who are looking to convert their cars to run on electric power.” says Commercial Director Gérry Hughes. “We have tried to make our kits as easy to use as possible, re-engineering and re-designing the package so that it fits perfectly in a classic Mini, and offer our clients the ability to take just the HPD E Powertrain system or purchase extra, optional EV parts.”
Swindon doesn’t offer and range specs but the powertrain makes 107 horsepower (80 kW) continuous, with a peak 160 horsepower (120 kW). Considering the standard Classic Mini Cooper S only made about 100 horsepower, this is more than enough and will likely make it significantly quicker than the stock car.
I’ve personally actually driven a classic Mini with an electric powertrain swap. Though, it was far different than this and one of the oddest, yet most enjoyable driving experiences of my life. The car was a homemade project and, despite being entirely electric, had a four-speed manual gearbox. It was bizarre, wonderful, sort of frightening and brilliant all at the same time. It also proved to me that the classic Mini is probably the best car to be electric, as it’s already so small and nippy that electric power makes it even better.
So anyone looking for a similar experience, check out Swindon Powertrain, as this package seems to be a good one.