New Mini Cooper electric car to be built in Britain
BMW has announced a £600 million investment, which will allow the next-generation electric Mini hatchback to be built in Oxford from 2026...
The electric version of the new Mini Cooper hatchback will be built at the brand’s Oxford factory from 2026, parent company BMW has announced, as will the planned Mini Aceman electric SUV.
This will be made possible by a £600 million investment in the brand’s UK manufacturing infrastructure, with money also being spent at its body-pressing facility in Swindon.
The Mini Cooper will replace today’s Mini hatchback in spring 2024, with the Cooper name promoted from merely being a trim level to representing the range as a whole. However, while it had previously been announced that petrol versions of the car would be built in Oxford, until now the only confirmed location for the production of electric variants was China.
The decision to build the electric car in the UK as well comes following a pledge of support from the UK Government, with rumours that £75 million of public money has been committed.
Kemi Badenoch, the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, wouldn't confirm this. However, she said the Government accepts that "there is a need to provide financial support to car makers in the UK because they are being asked to help with the transition to net zero, and this inevitably pushes up their costs".
To give the Mini Cooper Electric a cleaner look than its predecessor, the designers have gone with a simpler front bumper and ditched the plastic wheelarch cladding that has long been a Mini staple. Meanwhile, at the rear, triangular LED lights sit either side of a black trim strip which bears the Cooper name spelt out in bold type.
In entry-level E form, the new Mini Cooper Electric is powered by a single motor producing 181bhp, with this getting the car from 0-62mph in 7.3sec. A 40.7kWh (usable) battery provides enough energy for an official range of up to 190 miles – far more than today’s Mini Electric and the rival Fiat 500 can manage, but short of the Peugeot e-208’s 224-mile figure.
If you want more range from your Mini Cooper Electric, you need to go for the SE version, which gets a 54.2kWh battery that’s good for an official average of 250 miles. SE models also receive a power boost to 215bhp, cutting the 0-62mph time to 6.7sec.
The electric Mini Cooper can be charged at rates of up to 95kW, meaning a 10-80% top-up can take as little as 30 minutes if you use the fastest public chargers.
Drivers can select from different modes designed to make the Mini Cooper Electric feel sportier to drive, or to conserve as much battery power as possible, with each accompanied by a different ‘soundscape’ to make up for the absence of an exhaust note.
If you’d rather stick with petrol power, the options are heavily updated versions of the 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre engines that feature in today’s Mini hatchback, although these won’t go on sale until later in 2024.
The 134bhp 1.5-litre unit is our pick of the range in the current Mini hatch; it offers strong performance throughout the rev range while keeping running costs in check, thanks to respectable average fuel economy of 43mpg in our tests. The Mini Cooper will not be offered with diesel power.
The design of the petrol Mini Cooper won't be revealed until February 2024, but we understand that it will look very similar to the electric car, aside from a different front grille treatment, linked to the need to provide extra cooling.
This similarity is despite the fact that the two versions are actually based on different underpinnings; the petrol car is essentially a modified version of today's car, whereas the electric model is all new and based on underpinnings that have been specifically developed for electric cars.
The interior of the Mini Cooper Electric takes inspiration from 2021’s Mini Strip concept, with a focus on 'minimalism and sustainability'. Its centrepiece is a circular 9.4in infotainment touchscreen, whereas the old Mini had a rectangular screen inside a round housing.
We’ve already sat inside the car, and build quality is rock solid throughout. However, the decision to no longer fit a rotary dial for operating the infotainment system feels like a backwards step for usability.
Getting into the Mini Cooper’s rear seats requires some athleticism, but once you’re back there it feels more spacious than the outgoing car, even though adults are still unlikely to want to sit there for extended periods.
Among the features available is the facility for you to park the car using your smartphone, as well as to take a photo with your friends using the integrated interior camera.
Prices are expected to start from around £30,000, which would position the Mini Cooper Electric between the 500 and e-208 in terms of cost. The petrol version, meanwhile, should be available from around £28,000.
The Mini Cooper Electric will be offered only as a three-door hatchback, whereas buyers after a petrol engine will be able to choose from three-door, five-door and convertible body styles.
Your new Mini Cooper questions answered
What are the changes to the 2024 Mini Cooper?
The biggest changes for the new Mini Cooper are related to its design, its power options and its interior. It has cleaner lines than today's car, and will be available in two electrically powered forms from the outset, badged as the Mini Cooper E and Mini Cooper SE respectively. Inside, it features a minimalist layout, with most functions controlled through a round central touchscreen.
What colours will the new Mini Cooper be offered in?
Mini traditionally offers a range of vibrant colours for its cars, and that continues with this new Mini Cooper. Among the new colours to join the range are Blazing Blue and Sunny Side Yellow, while existing options such as Chili Red are carried over from the old car.
What other new Mini models are coming?
Joining the new Mini Cooper in 2025 will be the Mini Aceman, an electric small SUV. A new, electric version of the larger Mini Countryman SUV is also planned, and there will be a new Mini Convertible.
When can I order a 2024 Mini Cooper?
While the new Mini Cooper won’t arrive in UK dealerships until Spring 2024, order books are open now. Deliveries of petrol versions won't begin until later in 2024.
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