BMW’s First Electrified Mainstream Model Is The iX3

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At the ongoing Beijing Auto Show, BMW pulled covers off the 2020 iX3 crossover concept, previewing the inclusion of all-electric cars in its core product portfolio. 

The iX3 concept heralds the first mainstream model from the brand to be driven purely by electric power, according to BMW. The company plans to begin producing the iX3 at its joint venture facility in Shenyang, in collaboration with Chinese automaker Brilliance. The production iX3 will be the first BMW to employ a highly flexible architecture that will be capable of underpinning combustion engine, PHEV, and battery-powered cars.

The BMW iX3 concept is powered by a 200 kw/270 hp electric motor. It has a new battery that offers better performance and range whilst being lighter and more compact. The concept has a range of 400 km on a full charge as certified by the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), according to the company. A charging control unit juices up the battery in just 30 minutes when hooked up to a 150 kW output. BMW has indeed been working studiously on the development of battery technology through its new center.

The 2020 BMW iX3 will use the company’s proprietary fifth-generation eDrive technology that combines the electric motor, transmission as well as power electronics in a single unit similar to what major suppliers like ZF Group and Robert Bosch are developing. BMW says the components are modular as well as scalable to increase savings. The motor itself eliminates a strategic dependence in its manufacturing supply chain. Electric motors today use rare-earth metals like Neodymium for their unique magnetic properties. Batteries and motors designed by BMW do not use rare-earth metals at all, which makes the manufacturer non-susceptible to the fluctuations in the supply of such metals.

“In the future, this flexible architecture will be suitable for all front, rear and all-wheel drive propulsion systems. This offers the opportunity to equip models of all our brands with various powertrains,” BMW said. “That means a pure combustion engine, plug-in hybrid or battery-powered drive system can be integrated into any model as desired.”

The BMW iX3 will go up against crossovers like the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi Q6 e-Tron which will hit the streets this year followed by the Mercedes-Benz EQC arriving in late 2019.

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