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BMW moves production of the electric Mini from the UK to China

The Times reports that BMW will halt production of its electric minicars in the UK and move production to factories in China, dealing another blow to Britain’s ambitions for battery-powered cars.

The newspaper said, quoting a Mini brand executive, that the German automaker makes about 40,000 small electric cars annually at its plant outside Oxford, but it will halt production by the end of next year. BMW plans to transfer production of electric cars to its joint venture in China.

Mini’s new boss, Stephanie Wurst, told the British newspaper that the Oxford plant was operating inefficiently, and had to produce electric and petrol cars on the same line. Wurst stressed that the plant needed “renovation and investment” to build electric cars while dismantling old assembly lines. However, according to The Times, there was no date for her return to the UK.

BMW would continue to assemble Mini cars with internal combustion engines in the UK well into the 2030s, mainly for export to the US, Japan and the Middle East, according to the newspaper. However, the electric mini will be built by BMW’s joint venture partner Great Wall Motor GmbH and at its Leipzig plant.

Meanwhile, Britishvolt, the UK’s bid to develop an electric car battery giant, is seeking emergency funding. Bloomberg reported this week that the company was considering selling the site in the UK. The Financial Times said the company needed about 200 million pounds ($223 million) to fund it until next summer, and it was in talks with strategic investors.

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Maggie Benson

"Bacon trailblazer. Certified coffee maven. Zombie lover. Tv specialist. Freelance communicator."

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