First 'Made in Germany' MINI
The new, fully electric MINI model generation continues to grow. In 2023, production of the new MINI Countryman will begin at the BMW Group plant in Leipzig, Germany. The crossover model will be offered with both pure electric drive and combustion engines. Preparations for the start of production of the first MINI "Made in Germany" are already in full swing.
This will be the first time that a MINI model will be produced entirely in Germany. The local, emission-free, all-rounder fits the BMW Group's sustainable production site in Leipzig, one of the most modern and sustainable automotive factories in the world. As the company's pilot project for establishing a "green plant”, a long-term, sustainable strategy for energy generation and consumption comes into play.
"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.
Petra Peterhaensel as plant director and Sonja Hengstler (project manager for the new MINI Countryman) are responsible in Leipzig for the transformation towards more electromobility and sustainable production of the e-components, as well as the entire vehicles. A core workforce of 5,600 employees produces around 1,000 vehicles every day.
The new MINI Countryman comes off the production line in Leipzig with the BMW 1 Series, BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé and BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. This makes it the first plant at which vehicles of the BMW and MINI brands are manufactured together.
The new MINI Countryman will roll off the production line in Leipzig from the end of this year. The high-voltage batteries for the all-electric MINI Countryman will then come from the plant's own production facilities. To this end, the BMW 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 euros.
“The future production area of 150,000 square metres, on which e-components will be manufactured, represents a sustainable investment in the future viability of the Leipzig plant. The expansion is associated with job security and even job growth. By 2024, more than 1,000 employees are to be employed in e-component production,” said the BMW Group.
Sustainability is key at the plant. Part of the energy required for automotive production can be generated by four wind turbines (190 metres high) at the Leipzig factory site. In 2021, 21.9GWh 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.
"Our Leipzig vision is the complete decarbonization of production by replacing fossil fuels with hydrogen. 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. Hydrogen has already been used in plant logistics since 2013. Today, five hydrogen filling stations provide energy for over 130 fuel cell-powered industrial trucks, the largest fleet in Germany," emphasised plant director, Petra Peterhaensel.
As the brand's largest model, the all-electric MINI Countryman leads the new MINI family into an era of locally emission-free electromobility. The transformation to an all-electric brand by 2030 begins with this model generation. Space-saving components, such as the particularly flat high-voltage battery also produced at the BMW Group Plant Leipzig, enables the vehicle to offer additional space and greater comfort in the future.
With its four brands (BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad), the BMW Group is a leading manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles, and also provides financial and mobility services. The BMW Group production network comprises over 30 production sites worldwide; the company has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.