BMW presented the concept of its first mass-produced electric vehicle – the BMW iX3 Concept – at the 2018 Beijing Motor Show. The vehicle was recently picked up and marks the next important step in BMW's grand electrification strategy.
The BMW iX3 Concept is a purely electric X3 SUV. The car would come onto the market sometime in 2020 and be manufactured at the Shenyang factory in China (a joint venture in cooperation with Brilliance Automotive). Considering that it's just a concept for the moment, the company does not spend much on it. Nevertheless, it is known that it would go around a 70kWh battery that can be charged in just half an hour at a 150kW fast charging station.
The BMW iX3 Concept features the latest generation of fifth-generation eDrive electronics. The technology helps with more powerful and denser batteries, saving weight. EDrive's electrical technology also fits the electric motor, transmission and power electronics into a single electric drive unit, resulting in a compact package.
"This fresh package The technology is making significant progress in terms of performance, range, weight, space and flexibility – and will be featured in all-electric SAV for the first time "says a press release.
The company claims that the new technology helps significantly reduce production costs compared to current units. His new electric motor can be manufactured without the use of rare earth metals. The components for the fifth-generation powertrain come from production facilities in the USA, China and Germany.
According to BMW, the concept car has an electric motor with 268 hp (200 kW). And when it's fully charged, it can travel more than 400km (40 miles) according to the World Harmonized Light Vehicle (WLTP) test method.
"The BMW Concept iX3 offers a preview of the multifaceted driving pleasure of the BMW X models known and a locally emission-free drive system," says the automaker. Speaking of looks, BMW did not try to differentiate it from the basic X3 variants. The biggest change is certainly the standard kidney, which has been replaced by the unit inspired by the iVision Dynamics Concept. The BMW iX3 Concept can also be seen with several blue highlights and a loading position behind the left front wheel arch.
The car has a new rear bumper and fresh side skirts. However, it still has the standard taillights of the X3. Instead of conventional vents there is a diffuser element with blue highlights. Otherwise, the electrical variant does not differ significantly from the combustion variants.
According to BMW, such optimizations can also be expected in future electrified models. With small but visible design optimizations, BMW wants to change the look so that a distinction can be made between the electric version and the conventionally powered vehicles.
"We do not invent a completely new car with the design, we give it that purity, this boldness and a more modern design," says Domagoj Ducec, head of the Design Team for BMW i and M, after Engadget.
The BMW iX3 is an important part of BMW's electric car travel. Unlike the i3 and i8, the iX3 is a full-fledged i-model. Since BMW has protected all names from iX1 to iX9, it can be assumed that the company plans to develop many more electric variants in the future. Also, the automaker claims that it has flexible new platforms that allow it to fit purely electric powertrains in any new production model.
And in the future, the company plans to have a platform for every car that supports gas, hybrid and purely EV powertrains. Such an arrangement will help the automaker quickly adjust production to demand.
The BMW iX3 Concept comes at a time when other premium automakers are planning to develop electric variants to take over Tesla. Jaguar with the new I-Pace is already on the market, while Audi will be an electric car – e-tron, sometime this year. Mercedes will also enter the segment with its all-electric SUV called the EQC 2019. Mercedes wants to offer with the EQC a 500 km range, but it is not known whether it is based on a new European driving cycle number or WLTP.