BMW and Great Wall inaugurated their new joint-venture that is going to build a factory in China to produce 160,000 electric vehicles per year, including new electric Mini vehicles.

The electric Mini Cooper SE, a 3-door Cooper, was unveiled last month, and it’s BMW’s first all-electric car since the BMW i3 was released in 2013.

Some were disappointed by the fact that the vehicle’s powertrain is based on an older BMW i3 electric powertrain.

Its electric motor delivers 135 kW/184 hp and a maximum torque of 270 Nm. BMW claims the front-wheel-drive electric SE can get from zero to 60 km/h (37 mph) in 3.9 seconds, and zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.3 seconds.

The electric Mini’s 32.6 kWh battery has a reported range of 235 to 270 km (146-168 miles) based on the new WLTP cycle. That means EPA/real world should be closer to 140 miles.

The specs were interesting enough to attract many prospective buyers. Some reports put the reservation tally at over 45,000.

BMW is betting on China to be an important market for the electric Mini vehicles and they are preparing the production capacity for them.

The German automaker and its partner, China’s Great Wall, are investing 650 million euros in a new joint venture, “Spotlight Automotive Limited”, that they are inaugurating today.

Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Development, said at the official ceremony to mark the inauguration of Spotlight Automotive:

“Today we are taking the next step in our collaboration: With the BMW Group as a pioneer in the field of electromobility and Great Wall as a major player and expert in industrialisation in the Chinese market, we are joining forces for development and production of the future electric MINI and new Great Wall models.”

The new plant, which is going to be located in the city of Zhangjiagang in China’s Jiangsu Province, will have a capacity of 160,000 vehicles per year.

They plan to build electric Mini vehicles and new electric vehicles jointly developed with Great Wall.

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