The Mini Electric is expected to be BMW’s first new electric vehicle in a series of new production EVs coming to market in the next few years.
Now a board member of the company suggests that it could result in the brand going electric only – not unlike Daimler did with its smart car brand in North America.
Like Daimler’s smart cars, Mini’s vehicle lineup is aimed at efficient city driving, which makes them great vehicles to be electrified.
Though in the case of the smart cars, the move may have happened too early as their current EV offerings weren’t on par with the gas-powered smart cars, which led them to lose two-thirds of US dealership following the move to electric only earlier this year.
Nonetheless, BMW is apparently considering the same move.
Management board member Peter Schwarzenbauer told Reuters today that they are in discussions with other automakers “around the world” to expand Mini’s electric lineup, which could lead to the entire lineup being electric only.
“We are talking to many OEMs (manufacturers) around the world, not only in China, (about) how to electrify smaller cars. There’s no final conclusion on it.”
The exec refused to name potential partners, but China’s Great Wall Motor Co has been rumored to be amongst them.
BMW has been known to partner with other manufacturers in order to build Mini cars and even vehicles under its main brand.
Earlier this year, they unveiled their first Mini electric concept and the production version is expected in 2019. Again, it will be BMW’s first new electric vehicle in a series of new production EVs coming to market in the next few years – leading to the iNEXT, an autonomous and all-electric sedan to compete with Tesla’s Model S, in 2021.
Schwarzenbauer mentioned the car:
“By 2021, you will have a lot of people who want to own this car. It will be a normal price. We are thinking of scaling this. To bring a $150,000 electric car is nice, but it will not really scale.”
Like Daimler’s move with smart cars in North America, I think it makes sense to fully electrify the Mini brand, but they need to make sure to have an extensive lineup of electric vehicles before they do it.
We need to learn more about the new electric Mini before we can judge if the move would make sense.
Either way, the car is long overdue since BMW’s early EV program, the Mini-E, was based on the Mini.
Back in 2008, they actually converted hundreds of Mini vehicles with all-electric drivetrains. The program led to the BMW i3, but never to an electric Mini for some reason.
The vehicle offered a range of about 100 miles. A decade later, we are likely to see a much better version of that vehicle and the powertrain could easily be adapted to the entire Mini lineup. I am quite optimistic about Mini’s electric future.