A BRITISH engineering and technology company has gone back to the future to put an electric Mini on the roads months ahead of the expected launch of MINI's own pure-electric model.
But there's one big difference - and the clue is in the capitals. For the Swind Classic Mini Electric is based on fully restored versions of the original model created by Sir Alec Issigonis, giving the ground-breaking city car a new, 21 Century lease of life some 60 years after it was first launched.
It retains the same look, proportions and spirit of the original Mini but has a bespoke 80kw motor and single ratio transmission under the bonnet and a 24kWh lithium ion battery mounted under the boot floor in place of the original car's petrol tank.
It has a regenerative braking system and a claimed range of 125 miles, 80mph top speed and nippy acceleration with the 0-60mph sprint ticked off in 9.2 seconds. More significantly, perhaps, it has punchy mid-range overtaking power with acceleration with acceleration from 30-50mph in only 4.3 seconds.
Recharging takes four hours using a Type 2 female connector, but a fast-charging option is also available.
The Swind Classic Mini Electric has been engineered by Swindon Powertrain and is being produced at the company's Wiltshire factory. Astonishingly, the electric powertrain was developed in only six months - a fraction of the time it has taken BMW-owned MINI to develop the electric version of the current MINI which is due to be launched later this year.
The Classic Mini Electric prototype completed over 10,000 real world miles of testing alongside thousands of hours of virtual simulations of the bespoke powertrain.
As well as restoring original Mini bodies, the company has installed a number of new features to bring the cars up to date including USB charging ports, underfloor heating, heated leather seats and heated front and rear screens. New brake and suspension parts are also fitted.
Options include an infotainment and sat-nav system, power steering, a full-length sliding fabric roof, air conditioning, performance tuning packs and bespoke paint colours.
The car was the brainchild of Swindon Powertrain's managing director Raphael CaillÃ©, who says: "The classic Mini has such a special place in people's hearts, not only in the UK but around the world. The packaging of Sir Alec Issigonis' 1959 design was truly ground-breaking and now we are making it relevant again."
Revealed at the Classic Car Show in London, the Classic Mini Electric is available to order immediately in either left- or right-hand-drive. The company says that only 100 of them will be built, costing from £79,000 - with an MOT test certificate thrown in.
That's probably more than double what MINI will charge for the forthcoming MINI Electric - but you will be buying a little piece of history.