I’m one of the few lucky people that have driven an electric classic Mini conversion. It was an absolute blast and, despite only being about 15 minutes long, one of the more memorable drives of my career. I still vividly remember driving the all-electric, but somehow four-speed manual, classic Mini through the extremely busy streets of Manhattan. What a blast. Thankfully, potential customers in the UK will be able to have that same experience for a surprisingly affordable price, thanks to London Electric Cars.
What LEC offers is a £25,000 electric conversion, excluding the cost of the actual Mini itself. So you have to source your own classic Mini and LEC will then convert the entire car over to an electric powertrain. For that £25,000 starting price, you get a very small 20 kWh battery pack and a 107 horsepower electric motor from a first-gen Nissan Leaf. I drove a gas-powered 1965 Mini Cooper S which had about 100 horsepower and it felt plenty peppy enough, so 107 horses of instant electric power will suit the classic Mini just fine. Though, the 60-70 miles of city range isn’t great. However, that’s mostly how such a car would be used anyway.
If you want a longer range, you can pay a bit extra for a 25 kWh battery (£27,000) or a 30 kWh battery (£30,000). LEC will even fit a 40 kWh battery but it’s a special order because the rear seats have to be removed, to fit the massive battery pack. It’s worth noting that the electric conversion Mini I drove had its rear seats replaced with batteries as well.
The batteries are also from old Nissan Leafs, and support Type 1 and Type 2 charging, as well as a home wallbox or three-pin plug. Using the latter (the slowest) and the car’s onboard 3kW charger, the entry-level LEC EV Mini can charge from flat to full in about six hours. However, hook it up to a 7kW charger and the time drops to three hours.
If you want extra power, you can get a second-gen Nissan Leaf motor, that bumps power to 148 horsepower but obviously at the expense of range. And money.
Considering most EV conversions are triple the price of even the bigger battery LEC Minis, this is a great value. Anyone with a ratty old classic Mini that doesn’t run or needs work could have this done and get themselves an incredible interesting and unique little car that I promise will be an absolute blast to drive. Dammit, now I want one.
[Source: Auto Express]