The Bavarian brand has already announced its electric ambitions with the BMW iX3. The emission-free SUV will go into production this summer.
After a few years without a new member in its i range, BMW has remained absent from the electric car segment. But the Munich firm will soon correct the situation with the arrival of the BMW iX3, the electric version of the compact SUV X3.
According to Oliver Zipse, CEO of the brand, the BMW iX3 will go into production this summer, according to the schedule predefined by the manufacturer. And this despite the uncertainties linked to the current pandemic, especially in the region of the globe where it will be released: the SUV will be exclusively produced in China, in the Shenyang factory.
440 km of range for the BMW iX3
First vehicle of the manufacturer to rest on a platform which can receive a combustion engine and an electric motor, the BMW iX3 will embark an engine of 286 horsepower and a battery of 74 kWh. The latter announces a range of 440 km on a WLTP cycle.
Sufficient for Europeans, the battery was however not considered sufficiently generous by American dealers to satisfy local customers. According to them, the 250 miles of autonomy of the EPA do not allow it to be sufficiently competitive in a market where an electric vehicle must have, at the very least, a range of 300 miles (480 km).
BMW’s ‘project i’
BMW i is a sub-brand of the car manufacturer BMW founded in 2010, under which electrical or partially electrical models of the car manufacturer have been available since 2013. So far, two concept vehicles have been launched on the market as series vehicles, the BMW i3 and the BMW i8 ; these are based on sustainability requirements. Four other concepts, the i1, the i4, the i5 and the i9 were announced. The BMW i models are made at the BMW plant in Leipzig. The plant is to be expanded into a competence center for electromobility in the BMW Group.
In addition, all of the BMW Group’s mobility services are bundled at BMW i. These include e.g. DriveNow, ParkNow and BMW i Ventures.
In April 2016, it was decided that BMW i would specialize more in the future in autonomous vehicles.
In 2017, BMW i then presented the Vision Dynamics concept in the size of the 3-series BMW at the IAA, which is to be built as an i4 from 2021.
In 2018, the all-electric BMW Concept iX3 based on the X3 was shown at Auto China in Beijing and at the Paris Motor Show, which includes the introduction of the fifth generation of electric drive technology. In addition, the electric motor should do without rare earth magnets or significantly reduced. BMW’s vehicle architectures should also be able to use electric drives in the future; pure electric BMWs should then be called BMW i. The iNext SUV concept was presented at the Paris Motor Show, the production model of which is expected in 2021.
At the Geneva Motor Show 2020, BMW was going to exhibit the i4 concept, but it was cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic, which should be close to series production. The concept was later unveiled online. It has a 390 kW / 530 hp electric motor; the 80 kWh battery gives a range of 600 km. The battery was new and developed in-house. The vehicle provides different driving modes associated with different sounds. To this end, BMW signed the film composer Hans Zimmer.
At the IAA 2019, an X5 with fuel cell was presented as i Hydrogen Next. The vehicle is to be built in small series in 2022. Since 2015, BMW is testing the fuel cell drive in a test fleet of the 5 Series G05.
The BMW i3 is a purely electric city car. It generates an output of 125 kW and has a torque of 250 Nm. In addition, an optional internal combustion engine (gasoline engine) can serve as a range extender. A model update was carried out in 2017 and the BMW i3s model variant was presented. The vehicle has battery range of up to 126 miles (203 km).
The BMW i8 was a sports car with hybrid drive. The electric drive with 96 kW (131 hp) is located on the front axle. The rear axle is powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine with a maximum output of 170 kW (231 hp) and up to 320 Nm torque. It was accompanied by a roadster that was available from May 2018. BMW announced the termination of i8 production earlier this year in March.