BMW is set to stop all production of electric Minis in the UK and build them in China and Germany instead.

Electric Mini to China

BMW’s current production is 40,000 electric mini annually at the factory in Cowley, Oxfordshire, will end next year as part of plans to change the Mini range from 2024.

The first electric Mini was built in Oxfordshire in July 2019. Then Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said:

I am delighted that this modern British icon will be produced in Oxford.

Oh, good.

BMW is part of a joint venture with the Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor, so the Mini electric hatchback and small SUV will be built in Baoding, China going forward. Electric Minnie Icemanwhich is expected to debut in 2024, will also be manufactured in China.

BMW will move production of the electric Countryman to its plant in Leipzig, Germany.

The UK plant will continue to produce Mini Cooper three- and five-door cars, as well as gas-powered convertibles for export to overseas markets such as the US and Japan. A BMW spokesman said there would be no impact on jobs at the Cowley plant. BMW has said it won’t end production of gas-powered Minis until the 2030s.

Stephanie Wurst, the new head of Mini, told Times that BMW is moving electric production to China because “the Cowley plant was operating inefficiently due to the need to produce electric and gasoline cars on the same line”:

“Oxford is not designed for electric cars,” she said. “It needs renovation and investment.” Asked when the electric Minis would return to Oxford, she said: “There is no date.”

Asked if Oxford could at some unspecified time in the future create Mini and Great Wall brands like Ora and Wey, she said: “Maybe.”

A spokesman for Great Wall confirmed that the possibility of manufacturing its own cars at Cowley was the subject of “internal discussion”.

BMW’s announcement comes as British Voltlithium-ion battery start-up, is in emergency fundraising talks with carmakers and other potential investors as it needs to raise around £200m ($228m) to continue funding the main phase of its Northumberland factory or face in danger of running out of money before Christmas.

Electrek’s Take

Almost exactly a year ago, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to finance UK’s ‘£1bn electric car revolution’ at COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. The plan is far from the top of the agenda for Prime Minister Liz Truss, who may soon be sacked.

Between BMW’s statement on China and Germany and the Conservative government in serious upheaval Literally hourly, it seems that the UK isn’t going to lead the electric car revolution any time soon, and that’s a big disappointment. And Britishvolt must survive to have a fighting chance.

I’ve driven two Cowley-built Mini Coopers and would love to own a Cowley-built electric Mini too if I still lived in the UK. Mini is an iconic British brand and it’s disappointing that the Oxfordshire plant has been excluded from the electrification process. I’m a big fan of local produce no matter where I live.

Will Great Wall manage to produce more than 40,000 electric Minis annually? Will they ship them from China to Europe and the US, creating a lot of emissions in the process? Will there be more electric Minis on the market if BMW quickly ramps up production in China? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Read more: MINI unveils the Aceman concept, its first all-electric crossover that showcases the brand’s new design language

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