BMW Group will begin production of an all-electric Mini Countryman at its Leipzig plant in 2023, with the first vehicle expected to roll off the assembly line by end of the year.
The crossover model will be offered with both pure electric drive and combustion engines, the group said.
This will be the first time that a Mini model is produced entirely in Germany. 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.
“We are delighted to be able to hand over the first Mini ‘Made in Germany’ to our customers in a CO2-neutral manner thanks to the plant's sustainable energy supply,” said Stefanie Wurst, Head of Mini.
A core workforce of 5,600 employees produces around 1,000 vehicles every day at the facility. The Mini Countryman comes off the production line in Leipzig together with the BMW 1 Series, BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé and BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, the company said. This makes the location the first plant at which vehicles of the BMW and Mini brands are manufactured together.
The 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. 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 group said.
Part of the energy required for automotive production can be generated by four wind turbines 190 meters high directly on the Leipzig plant site, the company said. In 2021, 21.9 GWh of electricity was generated from wind power. This corresponds to the annual electricity consumption of over 5,000 three-person households. Since 2017, the electricity generated can be temporarily stored in the battery storage farm in up to 700 high-voltage batteries from BMW i3 models, it said.
“Our Leipzig vision is the complete decarbonization of production by replacing fossil fuels with hydrogen,” said Plant Director Petra Peterhaensel. “At the BMW Group plant in Leipzig, we are the first automotive plant in the world to use a newly developed burner technology in our paint shop that can use green hydrogen instead of natural gas.”
The group’s transformation to an all-electric brand by 2030 begins with Mini Countryman model generation, the company said.