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BMW and Great Wall join forces for EVs

BMW and Great Wall’s new joint venture, dubbed Spotlight Automotive, will result in an all-electric Mini being built in China.

Chinese company Great Wall Motors (GWM) and Germany's BMW Group have jumped into bed to each build electric vehicles (EV) at a new factory in China.

The 50:50 joint venture – known as Spotlight Automotive – plans to develop an all-electric Mini for BMW and a similar vehicle to fall under the GWM manufacturing umbrella.

However, BMW has given no indication as to whether the Mini electric vehicle built by Spotlight Automotive will be exported to countries such as Australia.

The Ora R1 electric hatchback concept that was unveiled at the recent Beijing motor show. The Ora R1 electric hatchback concept that was unveiled at the recent Beijing motor show.

It is expected that GWM will utilise its new-found resources for its Ora sub-brand and develop road-going versions of the Ora R1 and R2 electric hatchback concepts that were unveiled at the recent Beijing motor show.

Further bolstering this theory is the fact that the aforementioned Ora concept vehicles are underpinned by what the brand called the "Mini Electric" platform at the reveal.

GWM also showed a larger all-electric vehicle at Beijing – the Ora IQ sedan – though that rides on a different, unspecified platform.

It's still up in the air whether or not the Ora brand will eventually be exported, though its new shared factory arrangement may well be GWM's first step in making that happen.

At the announcement of the joint venture, BMW board member for development Klaus Frohlich suggested that the expertise of both companies will compliment well.

"Our experience as a pioneer and leader in the field of electrification, coupled with Great Wall Motor’s proven track-record in efficient industrialisation, enables us together to drive the growth of the largest e-mobility market in the world," said Mr Frohlich.

"With our joint approach, we can quickly scale up production and increase efficiency in the highly competitive segment of compact electric vehicles."

Update: Mini Electric 2019: EV hatch teased ahead of launch next year

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