The basic design for the new Mini Electric car, which will be built in the UK, has been unveiled by BMW.
Unite hailed the moment as “an exciting development on the road towards the widespread electrification of cars”.
The union also called on the government to put the UK in “pole position” as a global manufacturing base for the production of electric vehicles.
In July, BMW confirmed the three-door Electric Mini will be produced at its Cowley site in Oxford in 2019.
The public will get their first glimpse of the new Mini Electric at the Frankfurt motor show in September.
“The new Mini Electric concept is instantly recognisable from the front by its hexagonal radiator grille and circular headlights,” BMW said.
The car manufacturer estimates that electric vehicles will make up between 15 and 25 per cent of its total sales by 2025.
Currently around 360,000 Minis are manufactured each year – more than 60 per cent of them in Oxford.
BMW has about 18,000 UK staff, with 4,500 based at the Cowley plant.
Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said, “The unveiling of the new Mini is an exciting development on the road towards the widespread electrification of cars.
“Across the globe the Mini brand is synonymous with Britain and it is in no small part down to the fantastic skills and efforts of BMW’s UK workers that the Mini Electric will be built in Cowley.”
To ensure further investment in the UK, Burke said the government needs to implement a forward thinking industrial strategy.
“BMW and it’s UK workers have played their part in ensuring Britain’s world class automotive industry stays that way. Now it’s up to the government,” Burke said.
“We need serious investment to grow our manufacturing base as a part of proper industrial strategy that commits to putting the UK in pole position for electric motoring and building the infrastructure needed to power the cars of tomorrow.” Burke added that Unite is committed to furthering the UK’s automotive sector.
He said, “It is essential for the future of our auto industry that the research, development, production and maintenance of electric vehicles and battery technologies are based in the UK.
“That’s why Unite is currently building a strategy on the best way for this to be achieved.”