BMW’s Mini brand will launch a full-electric version of the Countryman compact SUV this year as it prepares to expand its EV range to three models in the next two years.
The new Countryman will offer more space than the outgoing car, BMW said in a statement. It will use the same front-wheel-drive FAAR (from the German word Frontantriebsarchitektur) platform as smaller BMWs such as the 1 Series.
The Countryman will be built at BMW’s plant in Leipzig, Germany, alongside BMW’s 1 Series, 2 Series Gran Coupe and 2 Series Active Tourer.
The Countryman production is being moved to Leipzig from contract manufacturer VDL Nedcar in the Netherlands. Its production in Leipzig will be the first time a Mini has been built alongside BMW models and the first time a Mini has been built in Germany.
In addition to the full-electric Countryman, the SUV will also be sold with internal combustion engines, BMW said. It is expected to drop the plug-in hybrid version, which was Mini’s first plug-in vehicle.
New EVs for Oxford?
The electric Countryman will be followed by the Aceman small electric SUV and an electric version of the new Mini hatchback, expanding Mini’s EV line-up ahead of the brand going all-electric in Europe in 2030, Stefanie Wurst, head of Mini, said at the launch of the Aceman concept in September last year.
But BMW may also build new electric Minis at its home plant in Oxford, England. Originally the China JV was scheduled to build all Mini brand's new electric cars including EVs to export to Europe. BMW is reconsidering the plan because of tensions between the West and China, Automotive News Europe sister publication Automobilwoche reported.
The Oxford plant currently builds the Mini Electric battery-powered model, which is due to be replaced by the China-developed EVs.
Mini is about to announce a new investment worth “hundreds of millions of pounds,” Sky News reported earlier this week.
Mini sold 34,863 full-electric hatchbacks last year in Europe, according to figures from Dataforce, out of a total volume of 98,788 for the model. The brand sold 43,910 Countrymans, of which 14,265 were plug-in hybrids.