Another end of an era and the launch of a new one.
We can now include BMW's Mini brand on the list of automakers committing themselves to an all-electric vehicle lineup. A rumor from a few days ago has now been confirmed following statements from BMW Chairman Oliver Zipse during the company's Annual Conference 2021. Mini will become the first BMW Group brand to go fully electric and will do so by the early 2030s. Its last combustion-engine model will arrive in 2025.
Zipse nor any other BMW executive provided precise details about what that final ICE model will be, but it was specifically mentioned that "Mini is perfect for the city - and for e-mobility." It has already begun its BEV future when it launched the Mini Cooper SE last year and, so far, well over 11,000 examples have rolled off the assembly line in Oxford, England.
There's also the Mini Countryman PHEV, though it still relies on a gasoline engine. Aside from the SE, we can expect a new compact EV crossover that could potentially rival the Tesla Model Y. This will be a separate model from the next-generation Countryman, due in 2023, which is expected to offer both all-electric and combustion powertrains. By 2027, Mini estimates fully electric vehicles will account for at least half of its yearly sales.
The UK-based brand is continuing to work with China's Great Wall Motor to develop an EV-specific platform that aims to be ready beginning in 2023. Whether that's a global platform or specific only for China remains unknown.
BMW clearly has high hopes for Mini, stating it will "play a pioneering role going forward [and will have] a footprint in every region of the world." Those who find themselves disappointed by Mini's electrified future should remember that only a few years ago, BMW Group considered dropping Mini altogether.
Despite its very successful relaunch in 2000 with the reborn Mini Hatch, the brand struggled in more recent years as consumers shifted their business towards crossovers instead of small cars. The critical North American market was not in a good state. Full-on electrification is exactly the jolt (no pun intended) Mini needs to become relevant once again.