BMW launched its electric Mini at its plant in Oxford today, a fully battery-powered version with a 124-mile range and deliveries expected to start next March.
BMW uses the electric motor from its i3 and has a 32.5KwH battery pack. It promises acceleration to 0.62mph in just over seven seconds.
“We are entering an era in which electric cars will become a normal choice for our customers,” said Oliver Zipse, BMW production chief. “The Mini Electric will kick off our new model offensive for fully electric vehicles.”
The original Mini came out 60 years ago this year, made at the same place in Oxford as the new one. The company said in a press release today that the electric version will be integrated into the same production lines at the Oxford plants as the ICE models.
“We believe the new Mini Electric could be a tipping point for those who have been thinking about choosing an electric car, to take that step now,” said Mini’s UK director David George.
BMW is battling a tough time at the moment. In March predicted that 2019 pre-tax profits would decline by more than 10%, thanks to fines and challening market conditions.
BMW has been teasing the electric Mini concept at car shows since 2017. It announced this month that it would ramp up electric-car development to catch up with premium rivals in the mass shift to e-mobility and to meet tougher new EU CO2 emissions laws coming play from next year. BMW’s new goal is to launch 25 new electric and hybrid cars by 2023, two years earlier than planned.
Last week BMW CEO Harald Krueger announced he would leave next year, and not renew his contract. The 53-year-old has led the company since 2014 but has been accused of dropping the ball when it came to transitioning the Munich-based carmaker to electric. Zipse has been tipped to become the company’s next CEO.
"BMW took its head start in electric cars for granted and then failed to hit the accelerator again when needed," Christian Ludwig, an analyst at BankhausLampe told Automotive News recently.
In June, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover announced that they will form a partnership to develop electric-car technology together.