BMW has announced the next stage of its electrification strategy, with a flexible architecture for plug-in models and confirmation of the Mini EV.
Already one of the best manufacturers in terms of electric vehicle options, BMW has revealed that the new all-electric Mini will be a three-door Mini Hatch. Using the ‘core’ Mini – rather than offshoots such as the Countryman or Clubman – the messaging surrounding a Mini pure-EV is likely to be easier to get across to the public.
The Mini EV will go into production in 2019, joining the existing Mini Countryman Cooper S E All4 in the brand’s plug-in line-up. The electric drivetrain will be made in Germany, but the car assembled at Mini’s Oxford plant in a boost to the UK automotive market post-Brexit.
BMW has already confirmed that an electric Mini would arrive soon, along with the i8 Roadster in 2018, all-electric BMW X3 in 2020, and the iNext in 2021. The announcement of a flexible plug-in architecture is likely to open up options even further, despite BMW having a comprehensive range of plug-in hybrid models already.
What it means is the likes of the 2 Series Active Tourer, 3 Series, 5 Series, X5, and 7 Series – which already have iPerformance models – are more likely to be available as pure EVs in the future, along with other BMW options.
The concept is already in use by Volvo and being developed by Volkswagen, with the electric powertrain components having places to be fitted into designed into the platform from the outset, rather than converting cars designed only for petrol and diesel engines to include batteries and electric motors.
BMW expects that around 15-25% of its sales to be made up of electrified vehicles by 2025, though is aware of outside factors such as charge points, regulations, and incentives will influence those forecasts greatly. To respond to this uncertain powertrain future, BMW has developed manufacturing processes that will enable its factories to build cars with internal combustion engines, plug-in hybrid, or fully electric drivetrains at the same time.