And a shockingly stylish one at that.
Mini calls this "upcycling of the highest order." Legendary fashion designer Paul Smith has again teamed up with Mini to produce this resto-modded Mini Cooper with a twist. Predictably, that twist is, of course, an electric powertrain. There are also some special bits from Smith himself featured throughout the car, like his signature on the "engine" cover.
"Three things describe this car perfectly: quality, sustainability, and functionality," the designer explains. "This car also respects the past," Smith adds. He's rather keen on the idea of respecting Mini's heritage while also modernizing it. "When you move into your old aunt's flat, out of respect you don't change everything, but you do some modernizing," says Smith. That is, in essence, the point of this car, which is also inspired by Smith's 1998 collab with Mini.
That's actually where the paint color and green battery box cover came from. Both colors were featured prominently on the limited-run 1998 production models, only 1,800 of which were made. The car itself features plenty of updates to make it more sustainable than even some of Mini's current electric models. A 72kw motor powers things, with the batteries split fore and aft for better weight distribution. Unfortunately, Mini doesn't quote power figures. Frankly, that's not the point. This car is all about styling.
Smith deliberately left out as much trim as possible, as evidenced by the totally bare footwell and no-nonsense dash. In the center, the gear selector is a simple metal plate accompanied by a handbrake. However, there is a little phone mount, machined out to keep weight down, which will increase range by way of the car having to move less mass.
Speaking of less mass, the door cards are made of carbon fiber, and feature machined roll-down window cranks. In keeping with the idea of sustainability, the floor mats are made of recycled rubber, or at least what little floor mat there is. The steering wheel can also be removed to make getting in and out a little easier.
"Ideas are never the problem, you can find them everywhere. The challenge is to implement them. Here it worked. A dream has come true. We have made a 1990s car totally relevant for today," Smith says. Unfortunately, this is just a one-off. We'll have to wait for the new fully-electric Mini to see what a more modern interpretation of an electric Mini is.