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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Basically, is this project too insane to be worth my time? I love my Mini, and I love my i3, why not marry them? I love the idea of doubling the power of the Mini and adding maybe just 10-ish miles electric range to a rear drive system that could be used basically as a performance boost, or just a local getabout with pure electric. With just basic mods the Mini already overwhelms the front tires (even with sticky Pilot Super Sports). Been thinking about this for way too long and now some things have materialized where I want to know if it's even remotely possible. I'm a pretty experienced mechanic on ICE cars, have done all my mods and maintenance on the Mini (which is a lot), helped a friend with a motor swap, etc, but my only electrical experience is building speakers, guitars, computers, and a tiny bit of Arduino/RasPi stuff. Designer by trade so I'm good with CAD...

My thinking so far is this: Buy a salvage i3 with a larger (newer) battery pack than the one my car has, swap the salvage pack into my i3 for added range (from what I've read this is almost plug and play). Use some cells from the old battery pack and the motor/trans from the salvage i3 to build a rear-drive system into the back of my Mini. Mini is a Clubman, I've measured roughly and there's plenty of room physically for the stuff to go in. I believe if the exhaust system is rerouted and the rear trailing arm is modified to allow a driveshaft to pass through and work with a front Mini hub, there is enough room to get the trans hooked up to the wheels. Would have to fabricate a subframe for reinforcement, and I'm not sure if the trailing arm would remain structurally sound with a big hole drilled through it. Would certainly have to get custom driveshafts made, and maybe find springs that would work with the heavy load in back. I might even consider getting a salvage Clubman to test everything on before cutting into my perfectly good one... One thing I can think is a problem is I think the i3 tops out at ~100mph so maybe that motor/trans isn't ideal, but I want to do the battery swap project separately anyway... A Tesla motor would be more powerful and go up to 155, not sure how it compares on size.

If I could get this even just to work on a drag strip, where the electric motor was a completely separate thumb throttle or something, I would consider getting started. The ICE throttle is electronic so I imagine it would be possible to tap into the signal and have it control both systems, but that's already beyond my knowledge.

Am I just a lunatic for considering this? My wife is sick of hearing about it...
 

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Hi Spizzy,
I'm really not sure how you would even start matching the power delivery to the Ice and the motor at the same rate, you'd have two different set ups, with two different top speeds and two different accelerations.
If I were you (and I am converting a classic Mini) I would just do a conversion.
If you want more power, AWD etc you could knock something up running a Tesla motor which would give you all the power a Mini could handle and a decent top speed.

Sorry to dampen your proverbial fireworks and obviously there may be someone on here who is more knowledgeable than me who thinks it could work

Whatever you decide to do, good luck

Sent from my moto g(8) power lite using Tapatalk
 

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There are many issues with managing hybrids, especially ones missing any connection between the gas and electric systems other than the road. But I noticed two specific items...
I believe if the exhaust system is rerouted and the rear trailing arm is modified to allow a driveshaft to pass through and work with a front Mini hub, there is enough room to get the trans hooked up to the wheels.
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I'm not sure if the trailing arm would remain structurally sound with a big hole drilled through it.
The R60 Countryman All4 rear suspension design is basically the same as the R55 Clubman - even using the same control arms - so swapping in AWD components from the Countryman might be much easier and better than modifying the Clubman's parts. If you're really lucky, you may be able to just bolt All4 hub-bearing assemblies into the Clubman arms, but obviously not if there is no hole in the arm for the axle shaft. The Countryman and Clubman have different bolt patterns (5-bolt vs 4-bolt), so if you use Countyman hubs you would need to use different front and rear wheels, or convert the front hubs to 5-bolt.

I'm surprised that any of this would be possible with the fuel tank still in place.

One thing I can think is a problem is I think the i3 tops out at ~100mph so maybe that motor/trans isn't ideal, but I want to do the battery swap project separately anyway... A Tesla motor would be more powerful and go up to 155, not sure how it compares on size.
Are you considering the tire size in this? If the i3 can go ~100 mph with its tall tires, the top speed of the Mini would be lower. The i3 tires (Tesla Model S tires) are about 13% taller than the Mini's, so the road speed of the Mini would be 13% lower for the same motor speed.
 
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