The kit follows Swindon Powertrain's initial foray into the world of classic Mini EV conversions with its own ground-up build – the SWIND E Classic Mini. That car had a limited run of just 100 units and a whopper of a price tag of £79,000.
But as we well know, the market for classic car EV conversions is big, and only getting bigger, and Swindon Powertrain are masters at component manufacture (it's worth reading our interview with the company's MD for more background).
The Classic Mini Kit is an answer to the cost issue of getting a classic car converted in-house by a specialist company. It starts at £8850 +VAT and is effectively a modular powertrain with all the bits a keen garage mechanic needs to turn their ICE Mini into an EV. No modifications are required, with the entire kit simply bolting in.
The standalone powertrain module consists of a 107bhp (continuous; 161bhp peak) motor mounted to an original Mini subframe. It even has a purpose-designed inner CV housing so that standard mini driveshafts simply bolt straight in, as well as the option of replacing the regular differential with a limited slip unit – which should help control the urge from the EV motor. In total, the kit weighs 70kg – much lighter than a standard Mini engine and gearbox.
It's the same powertrain as the SWIND E Classic Mini, which was good for 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds, which is more than enough for the original. Of course, the weight savings are cancelled out once you add a battery and power controller into the equation. Swindon Powertrain will sell you its cooling system pump, limited slip differential, motor controller, 12kWh battery pack (worth around 125 miles of range), on-board charger and DC-DC converter and speed sensor kit, which essentially represents a complete EV conversion kit. All of that equates to a big chunk of money (£2655), which you can see on the company's website, but it does make things straightforward.
Of course, for those who know their way around electronics, it's possible to marry the Classic Mini Kit with power from a different battery and control system. But whether it's the whole kit, or just individual elements, Swindon Powertrain is clearly onto a winner.
“We’ve registered over 500 requests for more information on the SWIND HPD E Powertrain 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.”
In our opinion, the original Mini is possibly the classic car best suited to EV conversion. Light, nimble, fantastic around town and designed in the 1950s for efficiency, turning it into an EV simply brings this pursuit of efficiency up-to-date.