Electric MINI Confirmed as F56 Hatch – Will Be Built at Oxford Plant

MINIE

News that many of us have been waiting for is here – an electric MINI is launching in 2019. MINI will turn it’s existing F56 hatch into a full electric car and launch it to the public in 2019. While specifications such as range, performance and cost haven’t been released, we have rumors of a 250 mike range. True or not, look for official details to leak out in the months head.

Official Release:Electrification is one of the central pillars of the BMW Group’s corporate strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT and the company has announced that all brands and model series can be electrified, with a full-electric or plug-in hybrid drivetrain being offered in addition to the combustion engine option. Additional electrified models will be brought to market in the coming years and beyond 2020, the company’s next generation vehicle architecture will enable further fully-electric vehicles.

Today, the BMW Group announced that the new battery-electric MINI will be a variant of the brand’s core 3 door model. This fully electric car will go into production in 2019, increasing the choice of MINI powertrains to include petrol and diesel internal combustion engines, a plug-in hybrid and a battery electric vehicle. The electric MINI’s electric drivetrain will be built at the BMW Group’s e-mobility centre at Plants Dingolfing and Landshut in Bavaria before being integrated into the car at Plant Oxford, which is the main production location for the MINI 3 door model.

Oliver Zipse, BMW AG Management Board member for Production said, “BMW Group Plants Dingolfing and Landshut play a leading role within our global production network as the company’s global competence centre for electric mobility. Our adaptable production system is innovative and able to react rapidly to changing customer demand. If required, we can increase production of electric drivetrain motor components quickly and efficiently, in line with market developments.”

By 2025, the BMW Group expects electrified vehicles to account for between 15-25% of sales. However, factors such as regulation, incentives and charging infrastructure will play a major role in determining the scale of electrification from market to market. In order to react quickly and appropriately to customer demand, the BMW Group has developed a uniquely flexible system across its global production network. In the future, the BMW Group production system will create structures that enable our production facilities to build models with a combustion engine, plug-in hybrid or fully electric drive train at the same time.

The BMW Group currently produces electrified models at ten plants worldwide; since 2013, all the significant elements of the electric drivetrain for these vehicles come from the company’s plants in Dingolfing and Landshut. Dingolfing additionally builds the plug-in hybrid versions of the BMW 5 Series and the BMW 7 Series and from 2021, it will build the BMW i NEXT. The BMW Group has invested a total of more than 100 million euros in electro-mobility at the Dingolfing site to date, with investment continuing as the BMW Group’s range of electrified vehicles further expands.

Electrification of all brands and model series continues

The new, fully-electric MINI is one of a series of electrified models to be launched by the BMW and MINI brands in the coming years. In 2018, the BMW i8 Roadster will become the newest member of the BMW i family. The all-electric BMW X3 has been announced for 2020, and the BMW iNEXT is due in 2021.

Today, the BMW Group offers the widest range of electrified vehicles of any car manufacturer in the world, with nine models already on the market. These range from the full-electric BMW i3 to the company’s newest electrified model, the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4*, a plug-in hybrid version of the MINI Countryman, which is produced by VDL Nedcar in the Netherlands. The company has committed to selling 100,000 electrified vehicles in 2017 and will have a total of 200,000 electrified vehicles on the roads by the end of the year.

The BMW Group has benefited from its early start on the road to electrification. Indeed, the company’s pioneering, large scale electric vehicle trial began world-wide in 2008 with the MINI E. Learnings from this project played a crucial role in the subsequent development of the BMW i3 and BMW i8, technology pioneers which themselves informed the company’s current range of plug-in hybrid vehicles.

  • Chris Harte

    Patiently waiting on the details. The next decade is going to be an interesting time for Mini along with the rest of the industry.

  • anchoright

    I’m pleasantly surprised! I thought the size of the batteries would discourage the use of the F56, but this is excellent news!

    • Jim

      To my knowledge, MINI hasn’t confirmed whether it has room for 4 passengers, or if the rear seating area is sacrificed for batteries resulting in only 2 seats. If a 2 seat electric F56 delivered 200+ miles of range it could be worth that trade off.

      • Christian

        If memory serves, when they did the Mini E trial a few years back it was a two seater only. Given the lag between the trial and production, one would hope that battery capacity tech has gotten better, allowing for rear passengers.

      • anchoright

        I find it hard to believe 200+ miles even if they sacrifice the rear. Given the amount of batteries needed it would be around 90 miles at best. Maybe they might surprise us..

        • Christian

          Well, except they were hitting ~100 miles in the Mini E eight years ago with a 35kWh battery weighing in at 572 pounds.

          Looking around, that seems roughly in line with the current 85kWh Tesla battery, which in my mind (a lay person), means 200+ miles should be easy.

          Further cursory browsing reveals that 60kWh batteries are much smaller and would still hit that 200 mile mark… so maybe a rear seat isn’t out of the question.

        • The weight difference between an F56 and a Tesla Model S body in white surely factors into the power consumption to weight ratio.

        • Greg

          Less than you would think, here’s a table of efficiencies of the current crop of cars I posted last year in the comments, EPA numbers (combined/city/highway MPGe): i3 (22kWh):————-124 / 137 / 111 Chevy Bolt (60kWh):–119 / 128 / 110 i3 (33kWh):————-118 / 129 / 106 VW e-Golf (35.8kWh):116 / 126 / 105 Fiat 500e (24kWh):—116 / 122 / 108 Fiat 500e (2016):—–112 / 121 / 103 (no idea why it’s worse than before) Tesla Model S 90D:—100 / 95 / 106 Chevy Volt:————-106 / 113 / 99 MINI E (33kWh):——-N/A / 102 / 94 VW ID (100kWh):—– 82 to 92 (estimated by VW, concept)

          And the bigger the battery, the less headroom you have in efficiency because you have to lug around that big battery everywhere.

        • Greg

          Indeed like Christian is saying, it’s more than doable these days, it’s a requirement. The Chevy Bolt has a 60kWh battery good for 238 miles on the EPA cycle and seats at least 4 if not 5. They fit the whole battery in the floor.

          The MINI has to have a battery of at most 60kWh to hit around 250 miles range with current battery technology. They could fit it in the floor too, if they wanted.

        • Nick Dawson

          You are right. With the MINI E having the benefit of, “the next step in battery technology”, BMW is anticipating a range of at least 250 miles.

      • I doubt they would make the new MINI-E a 2-seater. That’s fine for a test vehicle like the first MINI-E, or if it were going to be the Superleggera-E, but taking up the whole back seat area with a huge battery? Doubt it. They’ll make it 150 miles range and 4 seats before making a car that feels like a test vehicle again, I think. However, I think they’ve purposely waited until now to build this MINI-E because they believe battery technology in 2019 will be such that they can build a MINI-E with acceptable range that doesn’t make test-car compromises.

  • Nick Dawson

    I suspect that the MINI E will have four seats. The 2019 launch date is significant, because MINI boss Peter 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 Peter 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 he believes electric technology is the perfect fit for the Mini brand because of its urban roots.

    BMW’s announcement comes just weeks after a potentially damaging strike had been called off at Plant Oxford, following the vote by 82.5% of the workforce to accept the latest offer on pensions. BMW’s decision is also a show of confidence that there will be a sensible trade agreement after the UK leaves the EU at the end of March 2019.

  • Eddie Cosme

    Won’t the F56 be close to end of life in 2019? I would have though they would have waited for the next version (G56?).

    • Christian

      That’s a really good point. Perhaps the roadmap has us on the F56 or a close iteration for a while longer than usual?

    • I was wondering the same thing. Given the timing of the market and the technology my guess is that BMW made a call to bring this variant to market outside of normal long term product planning timeframes.

      The GXX will likely debut the fall of 2020 as a 2021 m/y. So the question will be – how much investment will BMW put into a new electric mode stuck on an old platform and how long will that product be on the market. Also worth noting we’re hearing that the G series won’t be a radical departure in terms of body-in-white a la the R50 to the R56 was.

      • Nick Dawson

        BMW described the investment in the MINI E as, “tens of millions”. In the overall scheme of auto development, that’s a tiny investment. The beauty of the UKL platform is its built-in scaleability.

      • ulrichd

        I thought I read here that MINI was going more modern less retro with the next gen car. Not having an engine up front would certainly open up some interesting design possibilities for the e-version.

        • Yes and yes

        • They should just put the MOTOR in the back, too, while they’re at it! 😀

      • I think the limited sales of this model and the fact that the platform used for the F56 replacement will not be too much different than the current UKL platform. BMW spent a lot of money to develop UKL so the next iteration I feel will be similar however evolve the platform in ways of weight savings via use of weight saving materials. By the way Gabe I miss these discussions. I no longer own a MINI however still love the brand and still follow automobiles in general. I also still love MINI. It’s great to be back on Motoringfile.

    • BMW life cycles usually run 7 years. The R56 is a prime example of this. 2007 to 2013 of which the 2013 model year ran a little long on purpose for ramp up of production of the F56. I used to work for MINI of Fairfield County for 9 years :-).

  • oldsbear

    How is recharging away from home to be handled?

    • b-

      The same way all other electric cars are charged? I mean there are other electric cars that aren’t Tesla so how do they charge?

      • oldsbear

        I don’t know how they charge! This is why I asked. Do you have an answer?

        • Greg

          Usually, electric cars are charged at dedicated charging stations that look like gas pumps next to parking spots, seen in mall or store parking lots. They charge at higher speed than the other way to charge away when away from home, which is to just slow-charge on a regular 120V outlet with the car’s built-in power cord. It is extremely slow though so it isn’t useful for quick pitstops, batteries are big enough now that they take more than 24h to go from 0 to 100% charge in regular outlets.

  • Nick Dawson

    It was announced yesterday that sales of new petrol and diesel cars will cease in the UK by 2040, under government plans to tackle air pollution.

    So why are petrol and diesel cars being banned? Poor air quality is the “biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK” – thought to be linked to about 40,000 premature deaths a year – the government says. While air pollution has been mostly falling, in many UK cities nitrogen oxides- which form part of the discharge from car exhausts – regularly breach safe levels.

    Fortunately, for life-long petrol-heads like me, Hybrid vehicles will not be included in the ban. Phew!

    • ulrichd

      Bravo. I wonder how long before the rest of the EU will follow. Some interesting production challenges for automakers as other parts of the world might join as well. I assume pretrol/diesel and electric, electric/hybrids are not built on the same production lines.

      • Nick Dawson

        France announced the same ban, effective from 2040, three weeks ago.

        As reported yesterday, the MINI E will be built on the same production line in Oxford as the regular F56, and I suspect that the same applies to the Countryman S E in VDL NedCar. The computerised robots are so sophisticated these days, they can build a whole variety of different models e.g. F54/F55/F56 – at random! – on the same production line.

  • Nick Dawson

    Regular readers of Motoringfile will no doubt also read Bimmerfile from time to time, but how many, I wonder, bother to read Scooterfile. I have attached a link to an article about electric scooters. If you like all things on wheels, you cannot fail to be charmed by this.

    http://www.scooterfile.com/sf-feature/cezetatype506/