BMW to end UK electric Mini production next year

BMW has confirmed that it will end production of the electric version of the Mini in the UK next year. This will leave the company’s Oxford plant entirely dependent on petrol models for much of the next decade.

The German automaker launched the first battery version of the historic Mini Cooper in 2019. It is part of a series of models released by the manufacturer to meet stringent European emissions regulations.

The model was even more successful than expected, winning numerous awards and growing to account for one-third of the vehicles produced at BMW’s Oxford plant.

The German automaker announced in 2019 that it would manufacture its latest battery-powered Mini in China from 2024 and export it globally, including the UK.

The model will be built by BMW’s Chinese joint venture partner Great Wall Motors and will have nearly double the range of the current version.

BMW officially announced the end of production of the first electric Mini, built in Oxford last November.

The automaker had always planned to stop production after four years, about half the industry’s standard lifecycle, but the withdrawal of one of the most popular British battery models would hit the sector. It will be.

Jaguar Land Rover’s first electric vehicle, the Jaguar I-Pace, is already being built in Austria, and Norfolk-based Lotus will build its first electric SUV at its Chinese plant.

However, new investment from Nissan and Stellantis means that UK electric car production is expected to continue increasing over the next few years.

The UK car industry is looking for more support during the fuel transition, especially to attract battery manufacturers to invest in the UK to enable their current factories to transition production to electricity over the next decade. there is.

The most popular British-made electric car remains the Sunderland-built Nissan Leaf.

BMW’s Oxford factory was revamped in 2019 to make electric models, allowing it to produce petrol and battery cars side by side, but on the assembly line additional manual work is required each time an electric version is produced. was needed. Imported German battery pack.

Stephanie Wurst, chief executive of the Mini brand, said the facility was “not suited for mass production” of electric vehicles.

The factory will need “massive investment” to be able to manufacture battery models at scale in the future, she added.

The company expects electric vehicle production to return to Oxford in the future, but has not set a date for the next model.

Automakers typically update their vehicles every seven to eight years, so future generations of electric minis could be decided towards the end of this decade.

The Mini brand has committed to selling exclusively electric vehicles from the early 2030s and will always remain based in Oxford.

The plant will produce petrol 5-door and 3-door versions, as well as the open-top model previously produced in the Netherlands.

BMW also builds the Mini in Leipzig, Germany, where it will build an electric version of the larger Mini Countryman. The company’s new Chinese factory will also produce an all-electric model called the Aceman. BMW to end UK electric Mini production next year

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