One would think that MINI, a part of BMW Group, would have vehicles produced in Germany. Apparently not, or not completely. The coming MINI Countryman will be the first MINI to be fully produced in Germany, making it a true “Made in Germany” model. That includes the fully electric MINI Countryman (and the non-electric versions).
Without a doubt, MINI has some of the most attractive and culturally powerful designs on the auto market. Whether they make you think of James Bond, a different era, or something else, they pull on the heartstrings of many people (buyers and non-buyers included). There’s a kind of artsy appeal. As it turns out, MINI buyers are also more prone to going electric. One out of every five MINI buyers is buying a MINI with a plug now, and that percentage is likely to rise throughout the year. Pushing the progressive, green angle even further, electric MINI production will be an example in sustainable thinking and action.
The new “Made in Germany” MINI Countryman will begin production in Leipzig by the end of 2023. “The locally emission-free all-rounder is an excellent fit for the BMW Group’s sustainable production site in Leipzig, one of the most modern and sustainable automotive factories in the world. As the company’s pilot project for establishing a ‘green plant,’ a long-term, sustainable strategy for energy generation and consumption comes into play here,” BMW Group writes.
The electric MINI Countryman’s high-voltage battery packs will also be produced at this Leipzig factory. Furthermore, “BMW Group is expanding its capacities for e-component production at the Leipzig site by eight production lines by 2024 and investing more than 800 million euros. The future production area of 150,000 square meters on which E-components will be manufactured represents a sustainable investment in the future viability of the Leipzig plant. The expansion is associated with job security and even job growth. By 2024, more than 1,000 employees are to be employed in E-component production.”
As far as producing these components and cars with green energy, BMW Group doesn’t just buy offsets or buy electricity from renewable energy plants located elsewhere. There are actually 4 large wind turbines onsite. Together, in 2021, they produced 21.9 GWh of electricity — which is equal to the electricity needs of ~5,000 three-person households in Germany. The site also has onsite stationary energy storage from 700 former BMW i3 batteries!
BMW Group plans to get MINI to 100% electric vehicle sales by 2030 (which is a bit conservative, in my opinion). BMW Group indicates that this is precisely where the marathon to that goal begins. “As the brand’s largest model, the all-electric MINI Countryman leads the new MINI family into an era of locally emission-free electromobility. The transformation to an all-electric brand by 2030 begins with this model generation. Thanks to space-saving components such as the particularly flat high-voltage battery, which is also produced at the BMW Group Plant Leipzig, the MINI Countryman will offer additional space and even greater comfort in the future.”
Will the electric MINI Countryman be competitive? The problem so far with electric MINIs has been low range at high cost. Can BMW Group and MINI break that pattern at last and start to really attract new buyers? We’ll see soon.
All images courtesy of BMW Group.
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