If you love the style and urban cool of a Honda e, but like your biffabouts a bit more authentically retro, we have good news: for a starting price of £10,620 you can now buy a ready-made motor assembly that drops straight into the classic Rover Mini.
A car so cool that even the Queen used to drive one can be brought bang-up to date with the Swindon Powertrain Classic Mini Kit, comprising a 70kg HPD E Powertrain setup mounted to a copycat original Mini front subframe, including brackets specifically designed for this build. Power output is 80kW with a short-term peak of 120kW. A Honda e puts out 100kW.
You also get bespoke inner CV joint housings to allow for the fitment of standard Mini driveshaft assemblies. If you like, you can even add a £498+VAT limited-slip differential. On its own, the £8850+VAT kit isn’t enough to complete the drivetrain, but Swindon Powertrain wanted to leave builders the option to source whatever battery packs, motor controllers, charging unit and ancillaries they want.
On the other hand, SP also sells all of these things, purpose-designed for the Mini chassis. A small-sounding 12kWh battery pack fits under the bonnet alongside the motor, with all other elements finding their places without compromising interior space.
The 12kWh battery pack is designed for urban use, but in a car as lightweight as the old Mini it should still provide a decent driving range. The 1588kg Honda we’re comparing here gets about 105 miles on a full charge, realistically, from 35.5kWk; three times the battery capacity of the SP setup, but we’d expect an electrified classic Rover Mini to weigh no more than two thirds of the e’s bulk. Weight is everything, so we speculate that 70 miles per charge might be possible. That’s plenty if you never leave the city limits.
Prices are not cheap and don’t include the cost of a donor car. For the full whammy of everything a customer will need for the EV conversion, it’s £22,253+VAT, or assuming a 20 per cent VAT rate, £26,703. An entire new Honda e is actually £43 cheaper after its government grant. Still, we absolutely love the idea of electrifying classic Minis. We might even go and drive one, if/when we’re legally allowed.