A clear picture has come up that China is at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution as the market is adding more electric cars faster than any other country. It becomes clearer than ever this week with an avalanche of EV news coming out of China.
After the Gigafactory 3 deal of Tesla and BMW announcing its electric iX3 production in China for exports, the German automaker adds another deal to the list today which is the “electric Mini.”
For a while now, BMW has been saying that its next all-electric vehicle after the i3 is going to be an electric Mini. It is planned for a launch next year, six years after the BMW i3.
It is a big pause between all-electric vehicle launches and it is even more surprising when you consider how long an electric Mini program has been in the works.
An all-electric Mini is arguably the most long overdue electric vehicle. It is an ideal segment to electrify due to its size and functionalities, but BMW’s early EV program, the Mini-E, BMW’s first EV concept, was based on the Mini.
Back in 2008, they actually converted hundreds of Mini vehicles with all-electric drivetrains. The program led to the BMW i3, but never to an electric Mini for some reason.
Now, it’s apparently finally coming to market next year.
Last year, BMW unveiled an electric Mini concept in preparation for the production version and to tease us even more, the German automaker unveiled an all-electric version of the classic Mini a few months ago.
The production version of the electric vehicle is expected to come rolling off the production line at the brand’s main plant in Oxford next year, but now BMW adds another manufacturing facility to the electric Mini program through a new joint-venture in China.
The BMW Group and the Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motor today signed an agreement to produce Mini electric vehicles through a new 50:50 joint venture based in China.
A “new state-of-the-art production facility” through the joint-venture is planned in Jiangsu Province. Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, commented on the project during the signing ceremony:
“Today’s signing represents a new level of cooperation between China and Germany. This strategic partnership is a clear win-win for the BMW Group and Great Wall Motor, enabling us to contribute to China’s ambitious plans to ramp-up new energy vehicles and reduce emissions in the mobility sector.”
However, they didn’t elaborate on a timeline for the factory or a production capacity. The news follows yesterday’s announcement by BMW that the BMW iX3, the automaker’s next electric vehicle after the electric Mini, will be produced in China and exported to other markets.