Fully electric version of Mini launched at Oxford factory
The first fully electric Mini car has been unveiled at the car-maker’s Oxford factory.
Mini claimed the car could be a “tipping point” and encourage motorists who have been considering switching to an electric vehicle to “take that step now”.
Manufacturing of the Mini Electric will begin at the plant in Cowley, Oxford, later this year, with deliveries beginning in spring 2020.
The zero-emission vehicle will be fully integrated into the production process at Oxford, running down the same lines as conventionally-fuelled Mini models.
Oliver Zipse, board member at BMW, which owns Mini, said: “We are entering an era in which electric cars will become a normal choice for our customers.
“The Mini Electric will kick off our new model offensive for fully electric vehicles.
“By 2023, two years ahead of schedule, we will have 25 electrified models on the market. More than half of them will be fully electric.”
The firm says the Mini Electric is “instantly recognisable” as a three-door Mini hatchback, and offers the “design and go-kart handling” synonymous with the brand.
David George, director of Mini in the UK, said: “Now our customers can have everything they love about Mini, but with all the advantages of an electric car – lower environmental impact and running costs and they never have to visit a petrol station again.
“We believe the new Mini Electric could be a tipping point for those who have been thinking about choosing an electric car, to take that step now.
“We aim to introduce a whole new group of drivers in the UK to the fun and cost savings of electric driving, in a way only Mini can.”
Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said the Mini Electric will play “a key role in accelerating the adoption of cleaner, greener vehicles”.
He added: “I am delighted this modern British icon will be manufactured in Oxford.”
The original Mini rolled off the production line at Oxford in 1959.
Designed by Sir Alex Issigonis, it was born out of a demand for affordable motoring.
They became popular in the 1960s, featuring as getaway cars in movie The Italian Job and being driven by pop stars and fashion legends.
Cheap, easy to manoeuvre and with an unusual shape, demand for the cars has continued for 60 years.
The market share of alternatively-fuelled vehicles grew from 4.6% in 2017 to 6.0% last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
But demand fell for the first time in more than two years last month.
This followed the Government’s decision to slash the plug-in car grant in October last year, meaning hybrid models are no longer eligible for the scheme.
The Department for Transport responded by stating it is “focusing on the cleanest, zero-emission models”.