In some markets and for some brands (not yet MINI) we’re starting to see slowing sales of EVs for a variety of reasons. Yet we’re also seeing hybrid sales surging with many believing they offer an ideal combination of electrification without the need to rely on fledgling charging network. Could this shift in customer demand change how MINI thinks about hybrids enough to bring them back?

MINI decided years ago that they would go all in on EVs or internal combustion engines (ICE) with no hybrid options. So much so that they decided against creating a Countryman version of the BMW X1 Plugin Hybrid. Is there enough of a shift in demand that MINI could change their mind?

electric MINI Countryman SE

First let’s talk about the new BMW X1 Hybrid and why it’s such a big step-on from the previous Countryman hybrid. There’s a 150 hp combustion engine coupled with a BMW eDrive power unit creating a total output of 177 hp. But the most impressive thing is the 56 miles of range – a massive step-up from the 18 miles in the F60 Countryman hybrid. That range would be enough for most commutes and effectively make it a pure electric vehicle if you had at-home charging.

Is it possible for MINI to really make this move? Developing a car takes years but given the commonalities of the Countryman and there X1 and the proven nature of the hybrid system in it, we’d guess that the to market could be as little as 2-3 years. If that’s the case (and that’s a big if) we could see MINI bring a hybrid Countryman to market by 2026 – 2027.

Here’s where the unknowns come into the picture. The official end of production for the current petrol powered U25 Countryman is 12.31.30. If that date holds, that would mean MINI would have the PHEV (plugin hybrid electric vehicle) Countryman on sale for a little over three years. Could they make enough back on the investment with three years of sales?

This all presupposes that MINI would stop selling the Countryman on that date. With the EU and the UK solidifying their ICE bans at 2035, there’s room for MINI to push out that end date and continue selling the Countryman perhaps in PHEV form until 2035. If so we could see yet another multi-stage LCI similar to the F56 over the past decade.

And this is not to mention the North American market which could be fertile ground for sales given the expansive geography and the lack of a thorough charging infrastructure.

What do you think? Should MINI bring back the plugin hybrid Countryman and would you buy one? Let us know in the comments.