Choice. That’s been the core of BMW’s philosophy with EVs and that strategy is playing out with the J01 and F66 and soon with the U25 and the NE5 MINIs. The only question is just how long the ICE (internal combustion) powered MINIs will be on the market? While nothing has been set in stone, we pieced together information from several sources that give us a good idea.
The UK recently pushed back its ICE ban from 2030 to to 2035 due to public pressure and slow progress in charging infrastructure rollout. That mirrors Europe’s timetable as it looks to move into electrification as well. In the US there are currently nine states (following California’s lead) that will ban purely ICE sales while allowing limited plugin hybrid’s to be sold if they account for under 20% of a brand’s total volume. But this isn’t just any PHEV; it’ll need to get at least 50 miles of range on electric.
What this means is that the western world is slowly putting similar timetables on when we’ll see the phase-out of ICE powered cars. Not surprisingly MINI is looking to the future and planning accordingly.
MINIs Response – Offer Both ICE and EV Models
The MINI Cooper
MINI (like BMW) is leading with a strategy of choice. That means we’ll see the brand offer ICE powered cars alongside all new EVs simultaneously. For MINI this strategy will directly impact its FAAR (F66) and FAAR WE (U25) platforms. This also means some of these models will have unusually long lifespans.
As you can see below the F66 will technically have a short life-span but as we know, the F66 is a revised F56 which was introduced in 2013. That means the car and platform will be mostly unchanged until 2030. That longevity is hard to believe but this type of outlier in product planning is what happens when have a revolution such as electrification in the automotive industry.
What will be even more interesting to see is the all new J01 MINI Cooper EV being sold alongside a revised Cooper that’s effectively 10+ years older. MINI is going to great lengths to hide that fact by styling the F66 inside and out to match the new J01. Will consumers notice? Will they care? We’ll know soon.
|ICE MINI Models||Start of Production||End of Production|
|F66 MINI Cooper (ICE)|
|F66 MINI Cooper||03/2024||12/2030|
|F66 MINI Cooper S||03/2024||12/2030|
|F66 MINI Cooper JCW||03/2024*||12/2030|
|F65 MINI Cooper 5 Door||07/2024||12/2030|
|F65 MINI Cooper S 5 Door||07/2024||12/2030|
|F67 MINI Cooper Convertible||11/2024||12/2030|
|F67 MINI Cooper S Convertible||11/2024||12/2030|
|F67 MINI Cooper JCW Convertible||03/2025*||12/2030|
|U25 MINI Countryman (ICE)|
|U25 MINI Countryman C||11/2023||12/2030*|
|U25 MINI Countryman D||11/2023||12/2030*|
|U25 MINI Countryman S ALL4||11/2023||12/2030*|
|U25 MINI JCW ALL4||03/2024||12/2030*|
The MINI Countryman
The U25 Countryman on the other hand will seemingly have a rather normal product lifecycle of 7 years – typical in the BMW world. However there’s an asterisk there. Now that the UK has moved back it’s ICE ban and other governments have similar timeframes, there’s a chance we could see the ICE powered U25 Countryman stay on sale for a bit longer if there’s demand. And theoretically theres even a chance we could see a PHEV version go beyond 2035. But that’s a long shot that would have to be driven be immense customer demand.
The Countryman EV will be the complete opposite as MINI intends to kill it early to move that car to a bespoke electric platform from BMW called the NCAR (BMW’s codename for Neue Klasse). Why? The U25 Countryman is based on an updated FAAR platform (FAAR WE) and it was designed as a stop-gap of sorts. It can accommodate everything from an internal combustion power-plant to a plugin hybrid (which only BMW offers on this platform) to full electric. Because of this Swiss-army knife approach there are tradeoffs. For one the electric U25 MINI Countryman can’t pack as many battery cells as dedicated skateboard chassis EV can because it has to deal with structure built for internal combustion drivetrains. And there are many other trade-offs that have to be made to allow a single platform to work for so many drivetrain options. Because of this, BMW intends to kill the U25 EV early in 2028 and launch the NE5 Countryman on this new, pure electric platform. The benefit should he increased range, performance and better economies of scale for BMW.
The Neue Klasse (or NCAR as it’s known internally) will be BMW’s single platform that will underpin every future BMW and MINI across the range. Because of the highly variable nature of skateboard chassis, that means there will be foundational elements of the NCAR in everything from a MINI Countryman to a BMW X7 type of vehicle.
The NE5 will then be alongside the U25 ICE for several years similar to MINI’s strategy with the J01 and the F66.
Of course MINI would love for that to not be the case as it’s quite expensive to produce multiple versions of the same car. And it would appear they’re going to attempt to make the electric version of the U25 Countryman and the J01 a bit more appealing by giving us noticeably more power. For instance the 2025 Countryman SE (EV) will have more power and better straight-line performance than even the Countryman JCW (ICE). The J01 will follow suit as the Cooper SE will also have JCW levels of performance. In fact that’s one of the theories we have as to why MINI has not upped the power output of the F66 JCW which will remain at 228 or 231 depending on how you measure your HP.
It’s a complex plan but it’s coming soon. Does this move to electric excite or make you long for the days of manual transmissions? Let us know in the comments.