THE first fully electric Mini car was unveiled at the car-maker’s Oxford factory today.
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 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.’
Business, energy and industrial strategy secretary Greg Clark said the Mini Electric would play ‘a key role in accelerating the adoption of cleaner, greener vehicles’, adding: ‘I am delighted this modern British icon will be manufactured in Oxford.’
The original Mini, designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, rolled off the production line at Oxford in 1959.
The market share of alternatively fuelled vehicles grew from 4.6 per cent in 2017 to six per cent 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, following 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 was ‘focusing on the cleanest, zero-emission models’.
Pictured at top: The Mini Electric is unveiled at Cowley. Image: Jacob King/PA Wire