Mini has revealed a one-off electric version of its iconic original car, to help raise awareness and promote the new Mini Electric that will launch next year.

The car has been revealed at the New York International Auto Show, with a pure electric powerplant appearing under the bonnet instead of the typical four-cylinder engine.

While this is a one-off model, it has been released to help emphasise Mini’s EV intentions with its forthcoming electric hatchback. This special model highlights that the standard car can be easily adapted to be fitted with electric powertrains, and that icons can be altered for modern times.

The model seen here is a late, pristinely-restored example of the original Mini. Other than the obvious powertrain differences, the unique car features Mini Electric logos on the brand emblem and wheel hubs, although it still looks unquestionably like the original.

The year 1959 proved to be a turning point when the original Mini was unveiled. The Sir Alec Issigonis-designed car shook the rule book when it was launched, showing that there was a clear need for small British-built cars and not lumbersome, thirsty saloons. While the car received numerous special editions and mild alterations, it did not change all that significantly until it finally went out of production in 2000 – proof of the car’s ‘ahead of its time’ status.

Mini’s upcoming electric model is not the first plug-in model in its history, though. In 2008, the brand unveiled the Mini E – with 600 examples produced to test the car’s electric capabilities, while also paving the way for the BMW i3’s development.

The British manufacturer also has a plug-in hybrid version of its Countryman crossover on sale – the Countryman S E All4.

While a concept version of the upcoming model has already been revealed, we can expect to see a production version of the Mini Electric in 2019.

Ted Welford


March 28, 2018