Mini has offered the first official hints about how it plans to expand its electrified line-up, following the recent launch of the all-electric Mini hatchback.
Outlining its product strategy for the near future, the brand said it will “enable customers all over the world to have emission-free driving with a completely electrified model family” while still offering “highly efficient petrol and diesel engines, which continue be an ideal solution for target groups and regions whose mobility needs are not yet met by all-electric vehicles”.
Confirmed to be joining the new Mini Electric in showrooms will be a new crossover EV, which was first detailed by Autocar earlier this year. Developed as part of the brand’s Chinese joint venture with Great Wall Motors, it will sit atop a new platform and take its power from a new generation of cobalt-free batteries of undisclosed capacity.
Further details of the new EV are thin on the ground, but it’s possible it will revive the dormant Paceman nameplate and go on to form the basis of a replacement for parent company BMW’s eight-year-old i3 hatchback.
A date for the electric crossover’s launch has not yet been given, but the Zhangjiagang factory where it will be built, 85 miles from Shanghai, is set to go into operation in 2022.
That factory will also build the electric version of the next-generation Mini hatchback for global markets, including the UK. Using another Great Wall Motors joint venture platform, it will again mirror the look of its petrol-engined sibling. However, the pure petrol model will continue to be built exclusively in Oxford, likely using a modified version of the existing car’s platform.
The product strategy also mentions a new EV in the small car segment, which will likely be the MPV-shaped Traveller scooped by Autocar earlier this year.
As reported by Autocar, that model will use BMW’s front- and four-wheel-drive-compatible FAAR platform and be available with combustion and plug-in hybrid powertrains in addition to the fully electric option.
Mirroring BMW’s ‘Power of Choice’ approach, Mini remains committed to developing new combustion powertrains alongside the ramp-up of its electric offering. The next-generation Countryman SUV, for example, will continue to be available with pure-combustion and electrified powertrains, while the brand’s ‘small car models’ will retain combustion engines exclusively.
Mini brand boss Bernd Körber previously told Autocar the new Countryman will be similar in size to its BMW X1 sibling, making it Mini’s largest model to date.
The brand is marking 20 years since its resurrection at the hands of BMW following the collapse of the MG Rover Group several years previously. While it is plotting expansion into new, larger model lines, it remains committed to “creative use of space” and says 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”.
Körber said: “It is part of our responsibility to the brand and the community to preserve the unique character of Mini. That is why every new model from our brand in future will be unmistakably a Mini.”