Regular readers of How To Spend It may recognise the name of Swind as being the maker of the world’s first “hyper-electric” bicycle, which left me simultaneously amazed and impressed in our feature a couple of months ago.
Well, the engineering genii at Swind – which stands for Swindon Powertrain, a longstanding producer of engines for road and race cars – has marked this year’s 60th anniversary of the original Mini by commencing production of 100 electrically powered models (from £79,000) that offer a tempting blend of classic chic and high-tech efficiency.
Combining a fully-restored donor car with a 24kWh lithium ion battery pack that supplies an 80kw electric motor (the combustion engine equivalent of 110bhp), the Swind E Classic Mini offers a top speed of 80mph, a zero-to-60mph time of 9.2 seconds and a range of 125 miles.
With the electric motor’s innately smooth, quiet power delivery and instant throttle response, no gears to change and the famously compact dimensions of the automotive icon all rolled into one, the Swind E Mini is one of the coolest and smartest emission- and congestion-charge-free town cars to have appeared to date.
Additionally, the area occupied by the now-redundant petrol tank ups usable boot space to 200 litres and, with the car’s front-to-rear weight distribution being made more equal by having the battery pack in the back and motor in the front, the already-sharp handling for which the standard Mini is renowned is markedly improved.
Ride quality and stopping power are also better thanks to new suspension and braking systems, while the car’s original propensity to rust is held at bay with modern anticorrosion treatments. The old Mini’s somewhat spartan interior has been updated for 21st-century use, with underfloor heating, heated leather seats and USB charging ports, while additional options include an infotainment and sat-nav system, power steering, air conditioning and a full-length fabric sunroof.
The Minis are ready to order now and each car is supplied with an unlimited mileage in the first year and a 12-month warranty. Buyers may also specify a higher state of tune and bespoke paint finishes in addition to the six standard colours.