Electromobility and the future of the MINI model range

Bernd Koerber, Head of MINI. (Picture: Bernhard Filser)

The British premium automobile manufacturer MINI is driving forward with the realignment of its model range, with a clear focus on drivetrain technologies, vehicle segments and services of the future.

At the centre of this realignment is the expansion of electromobility, enhanced commitment in the crossover and premium compact segments and strengthening of the market position in China.

“MINI was always the answer to very special challenges relating to individual mobility. And the willingness to reinvent the status quo continues to shape the brand to this day,” commented Bernd Körber, Head of MINI. “Alongside electromobility, harnessing new target groups and sales markets will be crucially important for the future of MINI.”

20 years have now passed since the premiere of the second MINI generation after the relaunch of the traditional British heritage brand. Since then around four million vehicles of the brand have been produced at the MINI plant in Oxford and delivered to more than 100 countries all over the world.

Customer needs and wishes have defined the development of the MINI model range over the past two decades. In 2015, the new MINI Clubman spearheaded the successful move into the premium compact segment and two years later this was continued with the new MINI Countryman.

Around 40% of all the brand’s vehicles sold across the world are in this vehicle class. In addition, the MINI range is now broader than ever before. Currently, the extreme sport John Cooper Works models make up around 5% of total sales for the MINI brand, whilst the electrified models are steadily gaining in popularity.

The fun of driving combined with efficiency are deeply rooted within the tradition of the British brand and define the core of MINI. The classic Mini, introduced 61 years ago, was not only characterized by revolutionary space economy, but also by an economic drive with sporting potential.

The second generation of MINI, introduced in 2000, optimised the relationship between fun driving and fuel consumption, including the introduction of diesel engines. In 2008, MINI was a trailblazer for electromobility in the BMW Group.

MINI Cooper S Clubman.

The MINI E was produced in a small series and used in a field trial to gather important insights into the use of an all-electric car in everyday traffic.

Now, emission-free mobility has been firmly established in the model range and in the MINI community. With the MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid alone, (combined fuel consumption: 2.0 – 1.7 l/100 km; combined electricity consumption: 14.0 – 13.1 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 45 – 40 g/km), vehicles with electrified drive accounted for 5% of the brand’s total sales in 2019.

Following the launch of the MINI Electric (combined fuel consumption: 0.0 l/100 km; combined electricity consumption: 16.8 – 14.8 kWh/ 100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km), this rate has doubled to 10% of all new registrations for the brand.

Highly efficient combustion engines and additional electric vehicles from MINI facilitate the ‘Power of Choice’

In future, MINI will enable customers all over the world to have emission-free driving with a completely electrified model family. At the same time, MINI will still offer highly efficient petrol and diesel engines, which continue be an ideal solution for target groups and regions whose mobility needs are not yet me by all-electric vehicles.

“We are pursuing the Power of Choice approach followed by the BMW Group through our broad range of advanced petrol and diesel engines, the plug-in hybrid system and all-electric drive, in order to meet the needs and aspirations of our customers throughout the world,” highlighted Bernd Körber. “This enables us to create the conditions for further growth in global automobile markets.”

The future core portfolio of all-electric vehicles will include the MINI 3-Door Hatch, a new crossover model in the small-car segment and a compact crossover model. The brand’s small-car models and a crossover model in the compact segment will be available to choose from with conventional internal combustion engines.

New MINI models in the crossover and premium compact segment

To further benefit from the worldwide growth in the crossover market, MINI is focusing on an expansion of the product range in this vehicle segment which is specifically geared towards customer requirements.

The successful MINI Countryman will be joined by another crossover model for the small-car segment, which will be supplied exclusively with an all-electric drive. In addition, the next generation of MINI Countryman will be available with both combustion engines and an electrified drivetrain, meeting the different requirements of customers all over the world.

The ongoing development of the MINI product range provides the opportunity to meet the increased demands of many customers in terms of space and versatility, with an additional model for the premium compact segment.

The principle of creative use of space that is implemented in every MINI will be preserved. Irrespective of its concept, its vehicle class or drive type, every new model of the brand will continue to be a typical MINI, with a maximum of interior space, exciting drive and individuality, achieved on the smallest footprint amongst its competitors.

“It is part of our responsibility to the brand and the community to preserve the unique character of MINI,” says Bernd Körber. “That is why every new model from our brand in future will be unmistakably a MINI.”

Increased commitment to the automotive market in China

The world’s largest automotive market in China continues to grow dynamically and will become even more important for MINI in future. Currently, around 10% of all new vehicles produced for the brand are delivered to customers in China.

To share in the positive development of the market and sell a significantly higher number of vehicles in China, MINI will soon change its status as an import brand, to a locally producing automotive supplier.

Based on a new vehicle architecture, developed from the ground up for pure e-mobility, battery-electric vehicles will be produced in China from 2023, in cooperation with the local manufacturer Great Wall Motor.

This venture will enable MINI to meet the rising demand for emission-free driving both in China and in the other global markets. Cooperation with the Chinese partner will be based on a clearly defined principle: Production follows the market.

With locally manufactured vehicles MINI will serve the growing Chinese automotive market whilst maintaining stable production at other locations.