BMW in talks with UK Government for £75 million EV grant
It recently came to light that the British government is in talks with German automotive giant BMW, over a funding package that would be worth £75 million. If successful, the scheme would mean electric Minis being produced, long-term, at a factory in Oxfordshire.
The package has been endorsed by some big names in government, with the chancellor Jeremy Hunt and the former business secretary Grant Shapps both expressing their support.
The actual department involved here was, at the time of the announcement, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – but this department has since been broken up into four. The Department for Business and Trade, lead by Kemi Badenoch, will handle the negotiations from now on. It remains to be seen whether this rearrangement will impact the deal.
Demand for electric vehicles in the UK has risen markedly over the last few years. According to recent data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, around a fifth of new cars sold are now electric. The pace of the change is such, according to the organisation, that charging infrastructure might struggle to keep up.
What will the money do?
£75 million might seem like a lot of taxpayer money. So, exactly what is the objective, here?
The plant in question produces around 200,000 minis every year, around four-fifths of which are destined for overseas markets. In 2021, BMW announced that it would be ceasing production of electric vehicles in this part of the world, preferring to shift production to China, instead. This thinking appears to be changing in response to overtures from the UK government.
If successful, the money will help to safeguard skilled jobs in the region (four thousand people are employed at the factory), and to secure our domestic supply of electric vehicles, and to help us meet the skyrocketing demand.
It will also help the UK to remain competitive when it comes to technology and innovation more broadly. The government wants to be seen as a destination for international engineering and design talent, and this is one of the ways in which this ambition can be realised.
What’s the Electric Mini like?
BMW have an impressive little package in the Electric Mini. It comes with two levels of trim to choose from (called level 2 and level 3, with the first having been abandoned). Both offer climate and cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry, and a range of other quality-of-life features. If you opt for the slightly pricier version, you can also expect a panoramic sunroof, self-parking, and leather seats.
If you’re in the market for a new Mini, then it makes sense to invest in Mini GAP insurance. This will protect your investment in the event of an early write-off, and prevent you from falling into negative equity.