BMW is expected to disclose plans to invest hundreds of millions of pounds to prepare its Mini plant near Oxford for the production of a new generation of electric vehicles. Production of two new electric Mini models is slated to begin at the plant in Cowley in 2026.
This action is anticipated to safeguard the viability of the facility and another factory in Swindon. Currently, over 4,000 employees are employed between the two locations.
BMW is anticipated to announce that it will invest £600 million in modernizing the Cowley plant, expanding its body shop, and constructing a new area for installing batteries.
It also intends to construct additional logistics facilities at Cowley and the Swindon factory, which produces new vehicle body panels.
This will enable two electric designs of the next generation, the Mini Cooper and the larger Mini Aceman, to be manufactured alongside conventional automobiles at Cowley.
The Countryman, a third electric model, will be manufactured in Germany. The expenditure in the United Kingdom will be supported by £75 million from the government's Automotive Transformation Fund.
BMW's decision is crucial to the viability of the two UK factories, as the Mini brand is expected to go electric by 2030. In 2019, the Cowley facility debuted the first electric Mini.
Last year, however, the company announced that the majority of its electric vehicles would be manufactured in China, where the new models were co-created with Great Wall Motor.
At the time, BMW believed that constructing both conventionally-fueled and electric vehicles in the same factory was inefficient. Now, it's evident that this plan has changed.
Production of the new models will commence next year at Great Wall's factory in Zhangjiagang - with Cowley now expected to start building them as well in 2026.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that BMW's investment was "yet another shining example of why the United Kingdom is the best location to manufacture cars of the future."
This is the latest in a series of government-backed investments to promote the development of electric vehicles in the United Kingdom, in advance of a 2035 prohibition on the sale of new gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles.
Jaguar Land Rover's owner, the Indian conglomerate Tata, announced in July that it would construct a "gigafactory" to produce batteries in Somerset, a project that is anticipated to receive hundreds of millions of pounds in taxpayer funding.
Stellantis has just begun manufacturing electric vans in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire; Nissan is increasing production of electric vehicles at its Sunderland factory, while its partner Envision AESC is constructing a gigafactory nearby.
Professor of business economics at Birmingham Business School David Bailey believes the BMW announcement will be excellent news for the United Kingdom's economy. He mentioned that The United Kingdom must transition rapidly to EVs as the deadline of 2035 is approaching.
Unknown at this time is the source of the batteries for the vehicles to be manufactured at Cowley.
That could become a crucial issue in the future. Beginning the following year, new regulations will ensure that automobiles with batteries manufactured outside the United Kingdom or the European Union will be subject to high tariffs when transported across the English Channel.