UPDATE, 18 March 2021: Mini will become an all-electric car brand by the end of the decade, the company confirmed overnight.
"Mini will be the first BMW Group brand to go fully electric. Mini is perfect for the city – and for e-mobility. We will be releasing the last model with a combustion-engine variant in 2025," Mr Zipse said.
"By early 2030s, Mini will be exclusively fully electric."
The company expects around half of all Mini vehicles sold by 2027 will be battery-powered, with a portion of electric models to begin production in China in the next two years.
15 March 2021: Mini may be working towards an all-electric line-up by 2030, if plans to drop its existing petrol and diesel engines prove to be true.
Sources familiar with Mini's future plans have told industry outlet Automotive News it is working towards becoming an electric brand before the end of the decade, following in the footsteps of a handful of other European car makers.
While Mini has yet to formally announce its electric intentions, in November 2020 Mini's boss Bernd Körber confirmed its performance arm John Cooper Works (JCW) would be battery-powered: "There will still be a market and customer demand for [internal combustion engined] John Cooper Works, but ultimately the performance [brand] will be electrified – and for Mini it fits".
In December 2020, the company's first electric hot hatch was confirmed for production, following a host of spy photos and teasers from the BMW-owned company.
Mini's move towards an electric range comes as a number of countries prepare to ban the sale of new, non-hybrid diesel- and petrol-powered models by 2030 – while some municipalities are proposing limitations on allowing emissions-producing vehicles within major cities.
The rumour suggests Mini's next Cooper hatchback – likely to be unveiled within the next two years – will be the last to be built with an internal combustion engine.
Mini's electric future is expected to be unveiled by BMW CEO Oliver Zipse on 17 March 2021, as part of the company's presentation of its annual report.