BMW will build all-electric mini in Oxford, with production beginning in 2019
In February, German automaker BMW warned that it may look to move production of its Mini brand outside the UK, in light of continued uncertainties caused by Brexit. Yet doubts surrounding the company’s plans have now largely been laid to rest, with confirmation that an all-electric Mini will be built in Oxford. The decision will come as a relief to the British car industry and to the government as it pursues an exit from the European Union.
Business secretary, Greg Clark, welcomed the news, saying: “[This is] a landmark decision that is a vote of confidence in the workforce and in the determination of our industrial strategy to make Britain the go-to place in the world for the next generation of vehicles.”
The electrification of the Mini is part of a broader strategy, under which BMW Group is developing a flexible vehicle architecture that will enable the electrification of all brands and model series.
The company stated that: “This fully electric car will go into production in 2019, increasing the choice of Mini powertrains to include petrol and diesel internal combustion engines, a plug-in hybrid and a battery electric vehicle. The battery electric Mini’s electric drivetrain will be built at the BMW Group’s e-mobility centre at Plants Dingolfing and Landshut in Bavaria before being integrated into the car at Plant Oxford, which is the main production location for the MINI 3-door Hatch.”
Frank Bachmann, managing director at Cowley, told the Oxford Mail: “This is good news for everybody on the team at Plant Oxford and this addition to the model line-up marks an important next step in the evolution of Mini.”
The company intends to sell 100,000 “electrified” vehicles in 2017 and will have a total of 200,000 electrified vehicles on the roads by the end of the year. By 2025, the BMW Group expects electrified vehicles to account for between 15-25% of sales. The new battery-electric Mini will be a variant of the brand’s core 3-door model.
The BMW Group currently produces electrified models at ten plants worldwide; since 2013, all the significant elements of the electric drivetrain for these vehicles come from the company’s plants in Dingolfing and Landshut. The BMW Group has invested a total of more than US$117 million in electromobility at the Dingolfing site to date, with investment continuing as the BMW Group’s range of electrified vehicles further expands.
BMW AG Management Board member for Production, Oliver Zipse, said: “Our adaptable production system is innovative and able to react rapidly to changing customer demand. If required, we can increase production of electric drivetrain motor components quickly and efficiently, in line with market developments.”
The announcement made for the new electric mini seems to have brought a lot of relief for many UK residents. Plans for the vehicle to be produced in Oxford ensure the stability of many jobs that were previously uncertain due to Brexit.