Alex Goy from the Carfection YouTube channel has today reviewed a classic Mini. But this isn’t just any bog-standard classic Mini, instead it’s been modified by Electrogenic, resulting in an all-electric powertrain.
Goy takes it for a spin in the latest video.
It’s not the zippy original engine sat under the bonnet, we’re told.
“Instead, a very futuristic sounding Hyper 9 electric motor. And that motor is connected to a five speed manual gearbox, a real one that you can shift yourself and everything.
“As it stands, this car has about 65 horses and its gears mimic the old way of doing things. Its batteries are hidden in the rear and under the hood to keep weight distribution even. This car has a 100 mile-ish range thanks to a 21kWh battery, but customers can spec more power – up to 120 horsepower and 173 lb-ft and more range if they fancy it. Of course, more range means more batteries.”
Alex admits that as the Mini obviously wasn’t built to carry a truck-load of batteries, so there’s not much room left for anything else if you want more range.
“There’s a minor luggage space compromise to make room for him, so expect less room for bags if you want to go further on a charge. Charging, depending on what you’ve got fitted, takes ten hours on a three-pin normal plug, or three hours on a seven and a half kW charger. That’ll suit the low voltage motor fitted here, but Electrogenic offers high voltage motors with CCS fast charge that will take less than an hour.”
A manual gearbox? Really?
Thankfully electric cars, especially those which are classic EV conversions, are being fitted with manual gearboxes, and this Mini is no different. Goy is very appreciative of this.
“So what’s this about a manual gearbox, then? Well, in here is a five speed gearbox from a Citroen C1, and it works just as you’d expect a gear box to. You dip the clutch, you shift, you lift the clutch and you feed power in. You don’t have to blend anything like you would with a traditional internal combustion engine one, but it’s a gear box…
“First is low down punch. Second gives you a bit more. Third gives you more revs and more speed after that.It’s proper. It’s normal. You can have it with a single speed auto, but why would you want to?”
The electric powertrain has been nicely knitted into the original parts of the car, albeit a ’94, not a ’60s car as it looks from the outside.
“The car itself has been restored and is sort of backdated to look like a car from the sixties, this is a ’94 car underneath, which is cool.
The dash looks as it should and see the fuel gauge? That’s your charge. All the original things work as they should, though, with an electric twist where needed.
“All of this does come with a weight penalty: about 80 kilos in this spec.”
As Alex told us, this car has about 120 horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque. That’s not a lot. And from a standing start, the Mini isn’t able to hit 60mph by the time the long stretch of tarmac comes to an end. “It’s not the fastest thing in the world,” he tells us, before adding it’s “still quite brisk for a city car”.
Goy finds that the Mini certainly wasn’t built for an almost silent drive, but he loves the way it’s small and quirky.
“How does Electrogenic’s take on it fair? Not going to lie, this is hilarious. It’s a tiny little box and it’s making lots of little noises. It squeaks and it rattles and it’s yes it’s very peculiar. You can, you can feel, and you can hear where the manufacturer was like, ‘ah, that’ll do, it’ll be covered up by engine noise’.
“Because you can hear glass and rubber mixing and metal twisting and things like that. You don’t feel unsafe at all, it’s how the cars built. And then the people who say that you don’t get any noise with electric cars. That’s not true. That little Hyper 9 motor makes a lovely little buzz.”
“The star of the show really is the gearbox. It’s not the most precise in the world. It’s not the smartest in the world, but it’s a manual gear box in an electric car. Obviously the way it works, you don’t have to blend anything so when you put it into gear, you can just take your foot off and then apply the gas as late as you want. But it does have a party piece.
“So if you are in traffic, say you’re in third and you stop. And you just go, ‘oh, you’re not stalling or anything like that’. In third gear, gently apply the gas, metre it in gently, and it can slowly roll away easy. It’s sort of a manual gear box for morons.”
It’s no surprise that Alex, a lover of quirky cars, very much likes the EV Mini, calling it “low power fun in its purest”, and explaining that the “electric powertrain and this little car, they worked really well together”. He does however admit that he’d like “a bit more power and a bit more rance”.
The handling and ride
“The breaks are really quite awful,” he begins as he talks about how the car handles.
“‘They’ve built a bit of regen into it, but not lots’ is what I’ve been told. And they’re not brilliant, so you do have to keep an eye on what’s ahead and hope for the best.”
“There’s not a spectacular amount of roll in it really, but the ride is not brilliant. It’s quite lumpy-bumpy. I mean the surface I’m on ain’t great, but I do wonder how my spine will be faring.”
Alex tells us that because the original A Series engine wasn’t very good, he doesn’t mind that it’s been replaced for a motor and some electricity. Because while the engine’s gone, it still retains a lot of what made the Mini so good in the first place.
“Electrogenic may have removed the Mini’s petrol-powered heart, but in the process, it hasn’t removed any of the character. It’s just as fun, chuckable, and giggle inducing, as you’d expect a Mini to be. This thing is hilarious.
“And this one is limited for various London TFL reasons. Imagine what it’s like with more power and more speed? Would be hilarious. Tag me in for one of them.”