As Australian consumers face an even longer wait for affordable electric vehicle models to appear on the market, another major global automaker has released yet another new, fully electric EV: the MINI.
BMW Group said on Wednesday that it would begin production of its all-electric take on the iconic British car in the UK next year, in time to roll it out in conjunction with the car’s 60th anniversary.
The electric MINI, which is being unveiled for the first time at this week’s New York International Auto Show, is based on the same design of the classic MINI 3 Door, and will be produced at the MINI plant in Oxford, the company said.
The Bavarian auto maker has also recently signed a “letter of intent” with Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motor, to drive production of battery electric MINI through a joint venture there.
No further details have been made available on the car’s battery range or other specifications, as yet.
“With this unique vehicle, MINI sends out a clear signal demonstrating its commitment to retaining the brand’s unmistakable character whilst embracing innovative zero local emission technology,” BMG Group said in a statement.
BMW Group – which owns BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad –has been one of the early movers in electric vehicle manufacturer, delivering more than 100,000 EVs to customers worldwide in 2017 alone.
According to this week’s statement, work on producing the MINI E – based on the predecessor model of the current MINI 3 Door – actually began in 2008, with about 600 examples produced and used in a field trial under everyday conditions.
BMW says these trails played a central role in paving the way for the development of its popular i3 EV, which was released in 2013.
The company is also producing a plug-in hybrid MINI Cooper SE Countryman – a five-door that can drive up to 125km/h in purely electric mode.