With the Mini Cooper SE or the Mini Electric in the UK, the British-Bavarian small car brand presented its first production electric car just a few days ago. Now, according to a BMW board member, Mini might in future only make electric cars.
In an interview with Autoexpress, Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW responsible for Mini, gave indications of the company’s apparent electrification plans.
“For Mini, the Countryman as a plug-in hybrid was the first move – it is working much better than originally planned and shows electrifying Mini is the right way to go,” Schwarzenbauer explained. “But then for Mini and small cars you have to focus yourself on emission-free, fully electric. Step-by-step we electrify the Mini line-up completely “.
The company expects that increasing changes in legislation in the world’s larger cities will drive sales, as well as the growing interest of consumers in electric vehicles. Coupled together, these factors could lead to Mini becoming a fully electric brand.
Schwarzenbauer revealed that he was surprised by the demand for the new electric Mini, for which there are already 40,000 interested parties, and said that he had “never seen anything like it before”. The Mini Cooper SE takes a lot of technology from the BMW i3s, but has to get by with a smaller battery, for example. But it offers a familiar and more pleasing design than the futuristic BMW.
Last week it was leaked that Mini was already planning a second electric car. However, the BMW subsidiary does not want to electrify one of the existing models – such as a fully electric Countryman or the Mini five-door – but a new model that will be positioned below the Mini three-door. According to Autoexpress, the Board of Management has already given the green light for an electric series version of the Mini Rocketman, which was presented as a concept for the first time in 2011.
“We are developing plans for a model based on the Rocketman,” a “high-ranking BMW representative” told Autoexpress. The three-door Smart competitor is to be built from 2022 as an exclusively all-electric entry-level model in a redesigned mini-series by Spotlight Automotive, the newly founded joint venture of BMW and Great Wall Motor, at the planned plant in the Chinese province of Jiangsu for the global markets.
Since the larger models are now all based on BMW platforms, rapid electrification seems possible here as well. The Cooper SE will be manufactured on a single production line at the Oxford plant together with the combustion engine variants. “The trend towards becoming fully electric is completely clear, but what is the right way forward,” says Schwarzenbauer. “We have invested a lot of money to make our production lines much more flexible.”
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