The idea of crate engines isn’t new. You can buy one to use in your specialised project — rally car, drag racer, track car or even a low-volume sports car. But while your big V8s and Cosworths might be everything that you want right now, it’s equally tempting to see someone shoehorn an electric powertrain into a classic — or any car, for that matter. With an 80 kW electric powertrain from Swindon Powertrain, you might just be able to do exactly that. But, of course, it wouldn’t shoehorning it, mind.
It’s aimed at specialist manufacturers, this powertrain — or High Power Density unit (quite a name). It weighs 70 kilos, and at 68 cm long, 44 cm deep and 28 cm tall, it can fit in the tightest of engine bays. Swindon mentions that the entire setup (the motor, inverter, single-speed transmission, and cooling system) can easily be accommodated where the Mini’s original engine sat. The High Power Density EV unit is ready for use in light commercial vehicles, sports cars, classic cars, and recreational vehicles (think quad bikes). Swindon Powertrain also says that with the HPD unit, they’d be able to create a transverse system with highest power-to-volume ratio. In addition to the aforementioned use cases, it can also work as an e-axle on hybrid cars.
The company aims to have the HPD unit in production by June 2020, and will also include enough flexibility in terms of packaging so that its use goes way beyond something like an electrified classic Mini — a project Swindon successfully showcased. The electric Mini in question is called the Swindon E Classic and is a charming way of driving around without causing any harm to the environment through its exhaust. It retails at upwards of £79k, so yes, ouch!
Don’t look at the Mini’s price for an instance, and this makes complete sense. With a wider use of the electric powertrain unit, the costs are likely to go down as well. And once that happens, we’d see more electrified classics. And those might just be the exact opposite of what a large percentage of new-age EVs can never be — characterful. Isn’t that what we want from our cars?
Photos by Swind/Swindon