German automobile giant BMW has unveiled plans to set aside at least £600m buffer to prepare its Mini factory near Oxford to build a new generation of electric cars. Production of two new electric Mini models is due to begin at the plant in Cowley in 2026.
(UK) – BMW is reportedly planning to make a substantial investment of hundreds of millions of pounds to prepare its Mini factory in Cowley, near Oxford, for the production of a new generation of electric cars.
The plant is expected to begin production of two new electric Mini models in 2026.
This decision is anticipated to secure the future of both the Cowley facility and another factory located in Swindon, where more than 4,000 people are currently employed.
BMW is likely to announce a £600 million investment in upgrading the Cowley plant, which will include developing production lines, extending the body shop, and constructing a new area for installing batteries.
UK mini factories to receive investments for electric models
Additional logistics facilities will also be built at Cowley and the Swindon factory, which produces body panels for new vehicles.
These investments will facilitate the production of the next-generation electric Mini Cooper and the larger Mini Aceman alongside conventional cars at Cowley, while a third electric model, the Countryman, will be manufactured in Germany.
The UK government’s Automotive Transformation Fund, estimated to be worth £75 million, is expected to support this investment. BMW’s decision is significant for the future of both UK factories, especially considering Mini’s goal to become fully electric by 2030.
The first electric Mini was introduced at the Cowley plant in 2019. However, last year, BMW announced that most of its electric car production would shift to China, where the new models were developed in partnership with Great Wall Motor.
The company suggested that producing both conventional and electric cars in the same factory was inefficient at the time, but this strategy appears to have changed.
Production of the new models will commence next year at Great Wall’s factory in Zhangjiagang, and Cowley is now expected to begin building them in 2026.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch praised BMW’s investment, emphasizing the UK’s role as a hub for building future cars.
This move follows a series of government-backed investments aimed at promoting the development of electric vehicles in the UK, as the country plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel-powered cars by 2035.
Companies like Jaguar Land Rover, Stellantis, Nissan, and Ford are investing in electric vehicle production in the UK, while Britishvolt’s plans for a battery factory remain uncertain after its collapse into administration.
The source of the batteries for the vehicles to be manufactured in Cowley has yet to be determined, which could become a significant issue due to upcoming tariffs on cars with batteries made outside the UK or the EU when shipped across the Channel.
BMW, along with other businesses, is lobbying for these measures to be softened or postponed in both the EU and the UK.