BMW iX3 electric SUV spotted in near-production guise
The cars zero-emission powertrain will be at the heart of 11 upcoming electric vehicles from the German car maker. BMW is allowing potential buyers of the iX3 to register their interest online, ahead of the models planned 2019 release date.
BMW reveals iX3 electric SUV concept at 2018 Beijing motor show
BMW says lessons learnt through the establishment of its i sub-brand and recent developments surrounding its upcoming iNext model have allowed it to provide the new Concept iX3 with a “new dimension” in performance, operating range, weight and packaging over its first dedicated electric-powered production model, the three-year-old i3.
The new pure-electric SUV, unveiled at the 2018 Beijing motor show, closely previews a new X3-based model being developed as a rival to the likes of the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi E-tron quattro and Mercedes-Benz EQ C.
The production version of the iX3 is planned to be the third pure-electric model from the BMW Group, following on from the recently facelifted i3 and an upcoming production version of the earlier Mini E due out in 2019.
It is planned to go on sale in the UK in 2020, preceding the launch of a production version of the Vision Efficient Dynamics saloon revealed at last year’s Frankfurt motor show featuring a similar powertrain that, BMW chairman Harald Krüger says, is due out in 2021.
The styling of the Concept iX3 leans heavily on the standard X3. Among the unique design elements serving to differentiate it from existing petrol and diesel versions of the third-generation SUV are reprofiled bumpers, a newly styled grille, aerodynamically optimised wheels shod with low-rolling-resistance tyres, subtle additions to the sills and a new rear diffuser element.
At the heart of the Concept iX3 is a newly developed electric powertrain. Mirroring the unit set to be adopted by the production version of the new SUV due out next year, it combines the BMW’s fifth-generation electric motor with what has been described to Autocar as fourth-generation battery cells supplied by Korean battery specialist Samsung.
The new electric motor develops more than 270bhp and the battery is claimed to possess an overall capacity of over 70kWh. Together, they are claimed to provide the new SUV with an overall range of more than 249 miles on the latest WLTP cycles.
Although BMW has not yet confirmed details about the drive method chosen for its latest electric-powered model, the X in the Concept iX3’s name suggests the production version will receive permanent four-wheel drive.
As with the upcoming Audi E-tron quattro, the new iX3 features a control unit that permits its battery to be charged at so-called fast-charging stations generating up to 150kW. This, says BMW, allows it to be fully charged in just 30 minutes.
Further details made official by BMW at the launch of the iX3 reveal its powertrain is distinguished by a more compact design than that used by the existing i3, with the electric motor, transmission and power electrics grouped together in a single component.
In a breakthrough that will allow it to significantly reduce production costs over the unit in use today, BMW also says its new electric motor can be produced without any rare earth materials.