Reports suggest that MINI’s second electric model could be a China-exclusive built with joint venture partner Great Wall Motors
BMW-owned MINI is to release its first EV, the three-door MINI E, next year. The company is already looking to its second however – a model which may reportedly skip international markets and head straight for China.
According to Auto Express, plans are already being made for a Chinese-only model, although no timeline or model information was available.
Due to China’s tighter regulations on electric vehicles, the brand cannot currently export vehicles into China’s market.
This comes down to the MINI E’s battery being produced by the BMW Group. China’s new regulations require electric vehicles to contain batteries that are locally produced.
The regulations are an attempt by China to contain and cultivate its hold on the vehicle market. As with other automakers BMW has navigated the restrictions by seeking out a MINI-linked joint venture with Chinese automobile manufacturer, Great Wall Motors.
Following a letter of intent signed earlier this year, the joint venture would be used to manufacture the vehicles, with BMW saying it has no plans to create a new sales network to sell the vehicles.
Although a China-only model seems likely, given the new association with Great Wall, MINI is not letting details on its second EV slip just yet. According to AutoExpress, all that is understood so far is that the model will stand far apart from the three-door MINI E.
Given global demand, that could mean a crossover or perhaps something resembling the Countryman but we’ll have to wait and see.
What’s clear though is that the future of many brands, even icons like MINI, hinges on China. The government recently announced expectations that around 20% of car sales should be electric or hybrid by 2025. The country is also MINI’s fourth largest market, so whatever EV comes next could therefore be the first of many.