Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the board of managers at the BMW Group, says that Mini is "the most urban car brand” but also one of the hardest to switch to full electric power due to the size of its vehicles.
Highlighting the upcoming Mini E (to be built in Oxford from 2019) and the alternative version of the vehicle (to be produced in co-operation with Great Wall Motors in China) Schwarzenbauer said, “Electrifying Mini is quite a challenge, chiefly because of the small footprint of the cars,” thus implying that it does not leave much room for batteries.
“But if you look at the role of electrification in the urban environment and the desire to be local emissions-free, there is no other brand with the credentials of Mini,” he went on to say. “It should be a natural fit, and that is the direction we’re moving towards for the future. The success of the plug-in hybrid Countryman shows what can be achieved, and the full-electric Mini that is coming will show another step.”
Schwarzenbauer also spoke of the BMW Group's joint venture to build electric Minis in China. He said that it was necessary in order to qualify for the country’s New Energy Vehicles regulations. These regulations stipulate that a portion of the car’s parts to be sourced and manufactured within China, itself. This would be the first time Minis have been made outside Europe.
The BMW i3 is not subject to the same regulations as the Mini due to the partnership between Toyota and the BMW Group to work on solid-state batteries (which are expected to go on sale around 2025). Being both smaller and more powerful than today’s batteries, these solid-state batteries could potentially pave the way for a range of full-electric Minis.
2018 Mini Cooper S review, test drive
2018 Mini Cooper facelift launched at Rs 29.70 lakh
2018 Mini Countryman launched at Rs 34.90 lakh
2018 Mini Countryman Cooper S review, test drive