MINI to Launch Electric MINI in 2019 Followed by More Hybrids

BMW has once again confirmed its commitment to a fully electric MINI, this time giving us a clear time-frame. In its 3rd quarter earnings statement Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG laid out both brand’s electrification plans at a high-level:

We are now launching Phase II of our successful electrification strategy. We are electrifying our vehicles across all our brands and across all segments and series. Let me give you a few examples:

  • the BMW i8 Roadster from 2018 on
  • a fully-electric MINI from 2019
  • a fully-electric BMW X3 from 2020
  • the fully-electric BMW iNEXT from 2021

Over the coming years, we will need to make significant upfront investments. This applies not only to sustainable drive trains, but also to digital connectivity, autonomous driving and mobility services.

What’s Next after the MINI Countryman E Hybrid?

The Countryman E is the first example of a full production model from MINI with electrification. The big question in our minds however is when the next hybrid model will be launched. We believe MINI decided to not add this drivetrain the Clubman due to an assumption that total sales of the F54 wouldn’t be enough to justify the engineering expense. Because of this we may have to wait until the next generation (G series) MINI scheduled to debut in 2020. We’re hearing that that car will be engineered from the ground up to better accommodate electrification even in the smallest hatch form. From that point on we expect most if not all MINIs to offer some type of electric assistance in their drivetrain.

P90222668_highRes_mini-vision-next-100

What Will an Electric MINI Look Like?

In parallel MINI will launch a fully electric model in 2019. This model could likely be based on an existing car with batteries retrofitted to keep costs down. While this is just an informed guess on our part, this approach would allow for both speed to market and a lower price point. What it wouldn’t do however is give MINI a highly visible electric model that is easily distinguished from the rest of the range. To do that they would need to create an entirely new model or pull forward the new 2020 G series MINI (provided it’s being designed to accommodate a large battery pack).

What it won’t look like is the photo above of MINI’s Vision concept. We’d expect something a little closer to an evolution of the current MINI design language

  • Greg

    I do hope they start with an electric Rocketman! Make it small, simple, with a 60kWh battery in it!

    • Nick Dawson

      The fifth and final model in the all-new Mini line-up will be an all-electric version of an existing model when it launches in 2019. MINI’s boss, Peter Schwarzenbauer has confirmed to Autocar that the fifth ‘superhero’ will be an electric car, throwing further doubt on the prospects of either a Rocketman or Superleggera ever making production.

      Schwarzenbauer wouldn’t confirm what sort of model the electric car would be, but he did say it would be a version of an existing MINI rather than an all-new car. The 2019 launch date is significant, because Schwarzenbauer said there would have been a breakthrough in battery technology by then to allow the model to be far more usable than existing electric cars.

      “It’s completely new technology,” said Schwarzenbauer. “It’s the next step in battery tech. We chose to launch in 2019 as this is when we will see the technology.” He added that he believes electric technology is the perfect fit for the MINI brand because of its urban roots.

  • Nick Dawson

    According to Autocar, a BMW i5 SUV is strongly tipped to be the firm’s next all-new all-electric model, but it is not scheduled for launch until 2021.

    Earlier this year, Harald Krüger, chairman of the board of management at BMW AG, revealed that the next BMW i product would be launched in 2021, dubbing it ‘i Next’. But he declined to elaborate beyond describing the future model as the “new spearhead of innovation and technology”.

    Now sources have suggested that BMW has settled on an SUV bodystyle for its next model, reasoning that it is a shape with global appeal in a segment with booming sales and greater profit margins than hatchbacks or saloons. In addition, an SUV bodystyle more easily accommodates the bulky battery pack without compromising proportions.

    Without commenting on the bodystyle, Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales and marketing, confirmed the firm was waiting until 2021 for its next major launch so it could take advantage of “the next big steps in electric motor, battery and autonomy”.

  • Nick Dawson

    More information is coming to light about the new sports car co-developed between BMW and Toyota. The G29 BMW Z5 is set to take a roadster-only body style, and the Supra a fixed-head coupe. The move is to ensure that there will be little or no cannibalisation of sales between the two.

    The starting point for the new sports car pairing is a freshly developed platform engineered by BMW. It derives chassis components and engineering solutions from the current 3-Series, including the rear axle and five-link rear suspension from the M3/M4. Both the Supra and Z5 will use their own respective engines.

    The new platform has been engineered to support both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. The Z5 will receive either the B48 four or B58 six petrol engines, both with RWD and 8-speed ZF auto. The hybrid will most likely feature the B58 straight six, with an electric motor housed within a ZF-engineered 8-speed auto gearbox.

    The sports car project is just one component of a broad-based engineering and technology-sharing collaboration between Toyota and BMW. Other fields include fuel cell systems, lightweight technology and a lithium air battery project aimed at advancing electric car development.