The news follows quickly from the launch of the firm’s first EV, the MINI Electric, which has seen 40,000 customers register their interest online.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management at BMW responsible for MINI, told us that legislation in major cities and increasing consumer interest in electric vehicles could see MINI becoming an electric only brand.
“For MINI, the Countryman as a plug-in hybrid was the first move – it is working much better than originally planned and shows electrifying MINI is the right way to go,” Schwarzenbauer explained. “But then for MINI and small cars you have to focus yourself on emission-free, fully electric. Step-by-step we electrify the MINI line-up completely – this fits perfectly with the brand. If you have in the automotive industry one brand which you can call urban it is MINI”.
Schwarzenbauer revealed that the interest and demand surrounding the new electric MINI took him by surprise, saying that he “hadn’t seen anything like it”. He added: “I feel the best times for MINI are yet to come.”
A switch to fully electric is unlikely to happen before 2030 as consumer demand for long-range vehicles remains strong. Schwarzenbauer added: “In this transition period it is important to have this choice, but beyond 2030 is a different ball game.
“The trend to becoming fully electric is totally clear, but what is the right path? We still think there are many customers who need long range mobility. We invested a lot of money to make our production lines much more flexible,” he said.
In the meantime BMW and MINI are working hard on reducing CO2 levels from its supply chain and converting all of its factories to run on renewable energy. “By 2020 all our production facilities worldwide will be on renewable energies,” Schwarzenbauer explained.
“We are working a lot on our supply chain and making it very transparent with what is happening. We work with thousands of parts and suppliers and we are making this process transparent to see what is happening in the entire logistic chain.”
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