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Part Of A Brand Revamp
Since 2008 Mini has been messing with the idea of launching an electric model. Since its world premiere in California it has been getting a modest range of 156 miles. Fast forward to late 2017 to now Mini Electric Concept, range north of 180 miles is expected. Looking at the bigger picture, Mini's parent brand has set range goals as ambitious as 435 miles. What the production electric Mini Cooper will have is still in question.
- AutoWeekSince acquiring the Mini trademark over a decade ago, BMW has not shied away from playing up the hot-hatch image of the brand -- and that goes for the cars' exhaust soundtracks. But BMW may soon have another, much quieter role for its small British division in mind as the German parent company maneuvers toward an electric future.
Could BMW make Mini into an all-electric brand in the near future, adding to its i Division while keeping its hot-hatch identity? It's possible: BMW board member and Mini boss Peter Schwarzenbauer told Reuters this week that Mini could become an EV-only brand aimed at urban buyers. The company is proceeding with plans to roll out its first electric model, shown in concept form at the Frankfurt motor show earlier this year, and is currently looking for partnerships with other automakers to bring down the costs as well as solve the engineering challenges of building small electric cars.
According to Schwarzenbauer, building relatively small electric cars is difficult not only from the standpoint of costs but also due to the engineering challenges of fitting small cars with batteries that give them a sufficient range. Unlike a number of other cars on the market, the Mini lineup has to stay within a confined size range, so battery space and technology is at a premium when it comes to development.
Higher capacity battery packs are currently in development with first iterations expected in the 3-Series Electric. Already some of that technology is coming through with the BMW i3 thanks to a 120Ah battery for early 2018. Range is set for just over 180 miles. No confirmation of what the Mini will have but in 2020 anything less than 200 miles will be below the then EV industry norm.
- BMW Blog & ElectrekAccording to an inside source talking to BMWBlog, that could change with an upcoming new version for 2018-2019. They wrote:
We would recommend to take this report with a grain of salt, but it’s not impossible considering BMW’s strategy is low in new EVs and could instead rely on existing models to stay relevant.Last summer, BMW introduced their first major update to the first first electric vehicle. The tech-refreshed i3 features a 94 Ah battery pack which has increased the operating range measured, under the official NEDC test cycle, by more than 50 percent, from 190 kilometers (118 miles) to more than 300 kilometers (186 miles), while real-world driving range is increased to a maximum 200 kilometers (124 miles) on a single battery charge, even in adverse weather conditions with corresponding air conditioning or heating.
The increased electric range has sparked the i3 sales and attracted new customers to the brand. Fast forward a year later and BMW is now preparing to unveil a styling refresh as well, along with a new, higher performance model – the i3 S. The i3 LCI is scheduled for the Frankfurt Auto Show and it won’t bring a battery update.
According to a source, BMW is likely preparing another tech update in late 2018 which will bring the capacity of the battery expressed in ampere hour (Ah) to 120. The pure electric driving range will be further increased by at least 60 percent.
That will offer customers a longer range and will further free some of them from the well-known phenomenon called ‘range anxiety’. Details are still being kept under wrap, but with battery technology advancing at higher pace than ever, the update to the battery pack is a normal step for BMW.
There have been a lot of rumors lately about BMW’s electric vehicle offering. Officially, the German automaker only plans to build a fully electric MINI in 2019, a fully electric BMW X3 in 2020, and the upcoming “fully electric BMW iNEXT” should follow in 2021.
But a long rumored all-electric 3 Series, which could actually cannibalize the i3, is rumored to be also in the plans and it could be unveiled as soon as in September.
All throughout BMW Auto Group, whether you're looking at BMW, Mini or even Rolls Royce, ambitious and future-proof development strategies can be found and are all connected. Mini alone has plans to go fully electric with all models from the Cooper to Countryman. BMW wants sedan's, CUV's, SUV's and crossovers all on the same architecture. Rolls Royce will be dropping V-12's to follow a similar route.
- AutoNews“Nobody knows how many electric vehicles you’ll sell in 2020, 2021 and 2025,” BMW CEO Harald Krueger said. “You don’t know how many plug-in hybrids you will sell, and you don’t know how many combustion engines you will sell. The only answer is flexibility [to] deliver all three.”
The approach can help the automaker avoid having to idle some factories while other plants can’t keep up when demand diverges from forecasts. The strategy also calls for BMW to develop “future-proof” platforms that can handle electric powertrains as well as combustion engines.
The X3 crossover and 3-series sedan are among the first vehicles likely to offer all available powertrain types. BMW has confirmed it will introduce an electric X3 in 2020, and an electric 3 series is expected in 2019 or 2020, after the compact sedan is redesigned. Both the X3 and 3 series will move to BMW's CLAR cluster architecture, a highly flexible vehicle platform that allows for any of the planned powertrains.
"The strategy for the future is to integrate all drivetrains, whether it's purely battery-electric, whether it's a hybrid or a purely combustion engine," said Oliver Zipse, BMW AG board member in charge of production. "You will see battery-electric right after diesel right after hybrid on the assembly line. That's the only way we think to respond to the necessary flexibility because we don't know the demand."
Part of what BMW Auto Group has planned as part of an aggressive EV strategy is to launch 3 models by late 2019. First to according to many rumors is an all-electric version of the new 3-Series sometime around 2018, followed by the Mini Cooper Electric by 2019. From now till late 2018 details around Mini's offering will be few but stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
- BMW GroupThe MINI Electric Concept epitomizes a distinctive form of electro-mobility which will soon be experienced in every day driving. The BMW Group has already announced the development of a purely electrically driven MINI series vehicle. The first of these large-scale produced MINIs with battery-electric drivetrains will be available from 2019 – exactly 60 years after the launch of the classic Mini.