As a solution to declining sales in the United States, BMW is considering turning Mini into a purely all-electric brand, according to a recent report. During the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, BMW board member who is in charge of Mini, Peter Schwarzenbauer, mentioned that Mini’s sales in America have noticeably gone down by 10 percent just in the last month. This is because the market has been leaning towards getting SUVs. Unlike Europe where people criticized the automaker for selling increasingly bigger Minis like the Countryman SUV, the US market thinks that the vehicle still is pretty small.
In fact, Schwarzenbauer said that it is only in the United States where the brand is facing this problem. And so this is why Mini in the US is looking into electrifying all their cars, turning the company into a brand known only for electric urban mobility.
A little over a year from now, Mini is actually planning to unveil an all-electric model. But if Schwarzenbauer’s plans are realized, it could be the only one offered in the US in the coming years, considering that it will be the only all-electric vehicle they have so far. BMW also mentioned that the electric model would be built in the UK, though he did not clarify whether the new plan from BMW means that the Mini will also use their United States factories to build electric cars.
Reuters said that BMW is currently looking for partners to lower the costs of the venture to build small but affordable electric cars. That is not all they have to worry about as they also need to consider how to fit enough batteries into the Mini’s tiny platform. They have to make sure that the vehicles will have a range that is extensive enough to be appealing to customers. It would have to be comparable with Tesla’s range.
As I said earlier, the electric Mini will be built at the Oxford plant in the UK. However, some parts of the car like the electrified running gear and batteries will be built in Germany, alongside platforms for the BMW’s own electric cars, before getting shipped to the UK to be fitted into the cars.
To ramp up EV production, electric Minis will be put alongside gasoline and diesel examples, that’s if and when the production of ICE models will be stopped entirely.
Do you think that BMW’s plan for Mini to be an all-electric brand work in the United States? We have to admit that it does have an appeal. However, we are also aware that many customers in the US prefer models that are larger than the current Minis so the size is definitely a factor. We’ll have to see later on how fast and how deeply Americans will embrace electric cars.