Sales of the Oxford-built electric Mini have raced into the fast lane – eight months before it takes to the road.

Hundreds of orders for the emission-free hatchback have been taken, just days after the official unveiling at the Oxford plant.

Chris Overall, media relations manager for BMW UK, said the car, which is priced from £24,400, was already looking like a huge success for the Cowley factory.

Speaking at a media driving day at Lambourn, near Wantage, he said: “Since we unveiled the car last week we have taken hundreds and hundreds of orders.

“We are hoping to hit the 1,000 mark in the not too distant future.”

Full-scale production of the car is due to start in November with the car taking to the road in March 2020.

The Mini Electric means Oxford will become the first plant in the BMW group to build fully-electric and combustion engine-powered cars on the same production line.

The instant success for the Mini Electric has been reflected in sales of a limited edition of the Oxford-built Mini, launched to mark the start of the 60th anniversary year of the iconic British brand.

Priced at £30,025, just 500 of the special three-door Mini 60 Years Edition hatchback are being produced for buyers in the UK and they have been selling fast since going on sale in March.

Helen Wilson, Mini media relations executive, said: “We have sold about 430, so with just 70 left people will have to move quickly if they want one.”

The limited edition car, which is being sold worldwide, is finished in British Racing Green paint, with black exterior trim, black roof and exterior mirror caps, special anniversary design bonnet stripes and exclusive 17-inch light alloy wheels.

Inside, the three-door hatchback has a special leather-trimmed interior with 60 Years emblems on the steering wheel and front seats. The emblems are also fitted to the bonnet and turn indicators and an LED projector fitted on the driver’s door shines the emblem on the ground outside the car.

The car is highly equipped, with a touchscreen display with satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth connectivity and wireless charging. It also comes with a rear view camera, front and rear parking sensors and folding exterior mirrors.

Every model in the UK is being sold with an additional set of Mini spot lamps fitted to the front radiator grille.

The Oxford factory employs about 4,500 people but they face uncertain times, with senior BMW representatives saying in March that a no-deal Brexit could force the company to move 'some or all' of Mini production to Holland.

Mini Electric facts

  • Priced from £24,400 on the road or monthly lease from £299 per month
  • Driving range up to 144 miles
  • Digital dashboard’s navigation display shows a circle indicating car’s range
  • Comes with home and public charging cables as standard
  • 80 per cent charge is reached from zero in 35 minutes at a fast-charging station
  • Accelerates to 62mph in 7.3 seconds with top speed limited to 93mph
  • Based on same body shell as the three-door hatchback
  • Order books are open now for March 2020 delivery.

Mini factory facts

  • About 4,500 people work at the Oxford plant
  • More than 200 checks are carried out in assembly to ensure the correct parts are fitted and quality is as high as possible
  • About 40% of components for the Mini come from UK-based suppliers
  • Taking Minis from the factory by train saves more than 1.4 million lorry miles a year
  • 21,000 people visited the factory last year – a 35 per cent rise on the previous year
  • The Mini paint shop was the UK’s second biggest construction project after the Millennium Dome and cost £80m.

Mini facts

  • The classic Mini was built at Cowley between 1959 and 1968 when a total of 602,817 rolled off the line, with a peak output of 94,889 cars during 1966/67
  • Production of the BMW Mini started in Oxford in 2001
  • 1,000 cars are now produced in Oxford each day – one every 67 seconds
  • There are about 3,600 components in a new Mini hatchback
  • More than 1,000 robots apply between 4,000 and 6,000 spot welds to create the new Mini bodyshell
  • 80% of Minis are exported to more than 110 countries.