Good news for all you electric SUV enthusiasts out there – the BMW iX3 is still on track for a 2020 launch. The homologation process – which involved 340 hours and 7,700km of testing in the space of just four weeks – is now finished, and the final tweaks are currently being made to the 200th pre-production prototype.
Let’s go over what we know so far. The X3 will be the first BMW available with either petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid or full-electric power, and the iX3 will be the company’s first all-electric SUV. iX3s will be built on the same production line as the standard car (the two will look much the same, but the iX3 will get special aerodynamic trim and wheels) in China and exported globally. The first customers are set to receive their cars towards the end of this year.
BMW promises around 440km, or 273 miles, of range from a 74kWh battery mounted under the floor, while an electric motor supplies the rear axle with 282bhp and 295lb ft. This “fifth generation eDrive technology”, which will be used in the upcoming i4 and iNext, integrates the e-motor, transmission and power electrics into a central housing. It’s lighter relative to its output, more space efficient and thus easier to install in different models.
Moreover the e-motor doesn’t need any rare-earth metals, and the battery is “the optimum of what is possible nowadays”. BMW has managed to reduce the amount of cobalt in the battery by two thirds, and something called the “gravimetric energy density” is up 20 per cent. The iX3’s battery lives under the floor, so apparently it doesn’t eat into passenger or luggage space whatsoever.
More as we have it. In the meantime, click on these blue words to rear our review of the normal BMW X3.