Converting classic cars, not daily drivers, is where I have long predicted the future of EV conversions to be. This is because the full cost of paying to properly converting a daily driver to electric is generally much more than buying a new manufacturer’s vehicle that has more range and better features.
Even doing it yourself will cost the same or more in parts than buying a good second-hand OEM (major manufacturer) vehicle. (And save you the years’ worth of weekends spent doing the conversion).
In that vein – it is interesting to see yet another specialist conversion being set up for a popular classic. Unlike the E-Type conversions by Jaguar that I reported on here, this one is in the more affordable range. (Depending of course on your definition of ‘affordable’!)
London Electric Vehicles (https://www.londonelectriccars.com/) had just announced an EV conversion package for the classic Mini, with a starting price of £25,000 (around Au$46,000). Note that price excludes their local taxes, vehicle shipping and the donor car itself.
The base £25,000, 20 kWh Mini conversion has a projected range of 96 – 112 kilometres, with the ability to choose additional cost items such as a higher kWh motor and/or upgraded batteries to provide more range. Charging is the same as any OEM EV – as in standard public AC or DC chargers, home wall-box systems and domestic socket outlets.
The conversion utilises old Nissan Leaf motors and battery cells, providing a useful end-of-life recycling of damaged or otherwise scrapped Nissan Leafs.
To quote Matthew Quitter (Founder and Managing Director of London Electric Cars):
“As a classic car enthusiast and advocate for affordable and sustainable electric vehicle conversions, it made sense for us [LEC] to focus on the original Mini. [Alec] Issigonis was one of the most collaborative and free-thinking designers, but also someone who knew how to stick to a budget. With this EV conversion we wanted the classic Mini to be an affordable yet useful option for city dwellers, not just in our home town of London but all over the world to tackle traffic and help put a stop to pollution”.
The service also offers (at an additional cost of course) the option to source a donor Mini. Each converted classic Mini takes around six weeks to convert to run on electric power, with a current waiting time of around six months for customers with cars in the UK.
The company also has a range of customers looking to convert their vehicles and ship them to their homes around the world, including America and Japan.
LEV’s electric Mini conversion is part of their EV conversion range, which includes the iconic British Land Rover, Morris Minor and Morris Traveller.
Bryce Gaton is an expert on electric vehicles and contributor for The Driven and Renew Economy. He has been working in the EV sector since 2008 and is currently working as EV electrical safety trainer/supervisor for the University of Melbourne. He also provides support for the EV Transition to business, government and the public through his EV Transition consultancy EVchoice.