New Chinese EV Company Clones The Classic Mini

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Another Western automotive icon has fallen prey to China’s notoriously inventive electric car companies. After the Chevrolet Corvette and the Volkswagen Beetle it is now the classic Mini, a British city car produced by BMC and its successors from 1959 until 2000. The new Chinese EV version is a pretty good clone, with all sorts of trendy retro bits. The proportions seem spot on, and it has classy chromed bumpers, mirrors, and windshield wipers.

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Even the antenna has some old-school vibe to it, and the alloy wheels look like they time-traveled from the 1960’s to today. But there are some differences too, most notably the battery pack under the floor of the vehicle. The body is a bit more smooth and streamlined than the original, especially at the front. Electrifying the Mini as a 2022 city car seems such a great idea. One may wonder why current owner BMW didn’t think of this themselves.

Well, they kind of did. Soon, production of an electric Mini for the Chinese car market is set to start at the new GWM-Mini joint venture. But that is a much bigger car, a Mini in name only. Interestingly, GWM is also the owner of the ORA brand, which produces the cloned Beetles.

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The design of the new electric Mini has been patented in China. So BMW has lost it anyway. The company that filed the patent is a new unknown outfit called Beijing Estech Technology Co., Ltd. (北京艾斯泰克科技有限公司). Public company registries reveal that this company is backed by two companies I do know: design and engineering company IAT Automobile Technology (IAT) and custom SUV maker Karlmann King. The latter developed the crazy Karlmann King SUV, based on a Ford F-450. This SUV was designed by IAT.

The electric Mini clone is a whole other ballgame in size but similar in craziness. The Chinese Mini, which doesn’t have a real name yet, looks well though-out. It appears to be large enough for four people

From the images, it seems that the electric motor is located at the front. This classic Mini had the engine at the front too. So that’s true to the original. The bonnet seems quite a bit lower than on the British inspiration.

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It even has those little 1960’s lights on each side of the license plate holding area. That’s proper cloning work. The charging port is hidden behind an old fashioned fuel cap on the left-rear fender. We are very curious about the further development of this new Chinese clone. More as we get it.

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  1. I think they’ve just used a Mk 1 front on a Mk 3+ shell rather than redesign anything. They’ve not even deleted the exhaust pipe cutout or the rhd wiper spindle holes, such a blatant copy/paste job it is.

  2. Nice bit of racism there, John. This firm is bang to rights on its plagiarism but why let old habits die hard, eh?

  3. I am wondering where they found space for a practical size of battery if it seats 4. If it’s all at the back, the handling will be quite interesting.

    • if they do build it, I’m assuming they will make it flat floored and put the batteries there… no need for the exhaust/gearchange tunnel after all? in fact theres the opportunity to create modern running gear to do away with rusty subframes etc… the main issue id imagine would be getting it crash test compliant… one of the reasons they had to do away with the classic in the first place i believe

  4. When you look at the asymmetric chrome whiskers and bonnet/grill fit along with the wavy panel seams it almost looks as if they have 3D scanned an original car and tweaked it a bit, eg the rear lights. Why on earth replicate the rear subframe?

  5. Absolutely no need for a racist term there John

    This does look like a 3D scan – the rear valance is wavy like a 60 year old car

    The windscreen wipers park right like an early car but it also has holes for windscreen wipers that park right

    There’s no high-level brake light which I think you’d probably need to be sold in 2022

    All a bit confusing

  6. So it is a mishmash of early and later from MK1 to MK7 but I have seen genuine 1964 Cooper S’s that are made up from various years and models and clearly they are trying to sell a bitsa as an expensive Cooper S, where as this is interesting, it follows the modifications through thte years of the Classic Mini I would think it is going to start from an original and then be modified hence why they scanned it to give it the thoroughbred look whilst also being able to tell customers it is genuine parts with added parts to make up the modifications

  7. I had a 59 Mini, went to Medway Design collage. One of my projects was designing an electric Mini in 1970 !! Would love one of these !! Lecturers just kept telling me you can’t becouse of the lack of battries available but I had it all sorted moter in each wheel batteries under the floor. What goes arround comes arround………….


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