MINI has introduced a new in-house programme called Recharged, which converts classic Mini models to run purely on electricity. Developed by a team of engineers at the carmaker’s Oxford plant, the programme is currently carried out exclusively in the United Kingdom and fits in with the brands’ future strategy that prioritises electrification.

According to the carmaker, the idea for the programme was conceived even before the MINI Cooper SE, the brand’s first fully electric car, went on sale. Back in 2018, the debut of the Classic Mini Electric at the New York International Auto Show attracted a lot of positive reactions that the team at Oxford set forth to offer a conversion package.

Owners of the original Mini, which was produced under various nameplates from 1959 until 2000, will be able to send their car in and have the four-cylinder A-series engine replaced with an electric motor capable of a continuous output of up to 122 PS (121 hp or 90 kW).

MINI says this allows for a 0-100 km/h time of about nine seconds and the electric motor draws power from a high-voltage battery, which can be charged with an output of 6.6 kW for a range of around 160 km. Every car that goes through the conversion will also get a modified instrument cluster that retains the characteristic Mini look, albeit with new dials to display the drive temperature, the selected gear, range and speed.

To maintain the historical heritage of these cars, the conversion can be reversed at a later date if needed. In fact, the original engine of each vehicle is marked and stored so it can be reused in the event of a future retrofit of the classic Mini.

The MINI Recharged programme allows owners to drive their classics into low-emission driving zones of many large cities, which are otherwise inaccessible to cars with an internal combustion engine. There’s also no need to re-register cars that have undergone the conversion.

“For example, the electric classic Mini can drive in Oxford Street or Piccadilly Circus in London, and once again be part of the cityscape, without the driver having to pay an environmental tax (congestion charge) beforehand,” MINI said in its release.

“What the project team are developing preserves the character of the classic Mini and enables its fans to enjoy all-electric performance. With MINI Recharged, we are connecting the past with the future of the brand,” commented Bernd Körber, head of MINI.