By on April 25, 2018

It’s been a while since BMW pushed out an all-electric vehicle. The i3 was launched in 2013 and things has been relatively quiet at Bavarian Motor Works ever since. However, the brand maintained that more i-badged vehicles would arrive once it gets EV production costs under control, stating that its next electric would be the iX3 crossover.

Arriving in Beijing this week in concept form, the vehicle looks refreshingly like a production model — with a few stylistic touches separating itself from BMW’s core fleet. You might even mistake it for a refreshed X3, and that’s kind of the point. For the most part, the company’s initial foray into electrification served to test the market’s willingness for such vehicles and act as a bit of a spectacle. That’s not to be the case with the new batch.

BMW wants the upcoming EVs to have more mainstream success than the i3 or i8, and normalizing them is a big part of that. That’s also the reason it chose to base the next one on the high-volume X3.

Due out for 2020, the iX3 looks to be competitive, too. BMW claims at least 270 electric horses and estimates about 250 miles of range (using the WLTP cycle). That effective operating area is slightly better than both the Jaguar I-Pace and base trim Tesla Model X, despite the iX3 possessing a smaller 70 kWh battery pack. It’s also capable of 150 kW fast charging.

Using BMW’s fifth-generation eDrive technology, the electric crossover also obliterates the i3 in every area that doesn’t involve tight parking spaces. Presumably, that hardware will eventually migrate to that vehicle’s successor — which is rumored to be an electrified version of the X1 crossover called the iX1, tentatively slated for production in 2022. The iNext and i4 are also in the mix, although nobody seems to be able to pin down a timetable for either.

BMW is heading in a smart direction with its EVs, even if it’s not leading the charge for electrification. The iX3 retains a lot of the styling that sets the i-brand apart (black and blue trim, unique faux grille, etc.) while taking on the looks of its gas-powered brethren.

Since the vehicle is still a ways away from becoming a reality, BMW hasn’t confirmed price, but we already know they don’t want to slap consumers with a fine for going electric. That was one of its biggest concerns last year and a major reason why it didn’t pursue EVs more aggressively. It’ll definitely be more than the $41,000 X3, though.

Production should commence in China in 2020, with concrete specs arriving beforehand. However, we’re not expecting much change in the interim. BMW appears to have delivered a totally believable automobile with specs that seem totally possible within the next two years.

[Images: BMW Group]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

25 Comments on “Back to Normality: BMW Previews iX3 SUV Ahead of 2020 Launch...”


  • avatar
    Chris FOM

    Grill looks more Kia than BMW, to get the obvious out of the way. And I’m not sold on buying a car made in China. But otherwise not seeing much to criticize here. Timetable is a bit slow perhaps, 2020 is a long way out.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      My first thought was that grille looks like a pair of Foster-Grants. Maybe there’s a commercial tie-in?

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      This, exactly. Lets see, a BMW that looks like a Kia, is made in China, will have limited range with the 70Kwh pack, and will be marked up horribly will lead to a major “NO” from the US marketplace.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    I like the BMW 330i.
    I like the Chevy Bolt.

    But I sure don’t like them combined.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    They’ve followed the trend of stupidly large grilles just in time for them to get blocked off in electric cars. Make the kidneys smaller and don’t coalesce them like a knockoff kia.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    Nice Kia

  • avatar
    MR2turbo4evr

    A Kia grill on a BMW. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    How do you say tiger nose in German?

  • avatar
    kurkosdr

    You know BMW will be around for the next couple of decades because they are taking electrification seriously. Meanwhile Mercedes-Benz (Daimler) only has prototypes that live in trade shows and test groups. Same goes for FCA and many small Japanese automakers.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      With electricity rates where they are in most of the country, electric cars will remain a niche, until fusion reactors get the cost down. The rate I’m paying in California, 24 cents per kWh, is equivalent to $6/gallon gasoline.

      • 0 avatar
        arthurk45

        Apparently you think California is normal. At 24 cents per kWhr, you are paying more than twice the national average, thanks to California’s renewable campaign and shutdown of their nuclear plants. Forget fusion – that has been 20 years away for the past 35 years. The obvious power technology that is not only cheapest but also safest is clearly small modular molten salt nuclear reactors, being developed by two countries (China , India) and a half sozen private organizations, companies. They require no bodies of water for cooling and can be located within cities, deserts, anywhere.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          I KNOW Cali is not normal. But my provider touts a cost of 17 cents, while my total all-electric bill divided by kWh is 24 cents.

          I have relatives in three New England states, Chicago, and in Maryland. Their bills are the same, with costs separated out to lower the rate. They’re all regulated markets and costs are very high overall, compared to unregulated markets like Houston. Ask Sajeev what he’s paying, and you’ll be shocked.

          The real culprit is government regulation, followed by conversion to natural gas over coal. Utilities love fuel that’s delivered by pipeline instead of rail, not dealing with storage, and skipping the cost of keeping coal funaces going in off-peak hours.

          As low as nat gas prices have gone, coal is still cheaper per BTU, and the closure of coal generation has tightened the market for wholesale electricity that utilities depend on for peak load periods.

          The bottom line is that electricity has to be dirt cheap to compare with gasoline. the 12 cent national average still equates to $4/gallon.

      • 0 avatar
        IBx1

        Yeah…I pay 8.7 c/kWh. Texas>>

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Funny how cheap it gets in unregulated markets. In heavily regulated states like Connecticut, the government agency virtually dictates the price, and otherwise tells utilities how their business must be run.

          It also helps that Texas actually produces energy. So does Alaska, but their rates are over 20 cents.The difference is dad-burn guv’mint agents making the rules!!!

          • 0 avatar
            IBx1

            It helps that my choice of energy providers and plans allows me to pick a service with free electricity on weekends (still pay the $0.05/kWh from Centerpoint who generates the power). My yearly average for the past two years worked out to significantly less than the usual $0.11 delivered. Laundry and dishwasher on weekends with an electric dryer is all it takes!

    • 0 avatar
      ThomasSchiffer

      BMW only has one pure electric car; the i3 (and that can be ordered with a range-extender, which makes it a hybrid to me). The BMW i8 is also a ‘hybrid’ to me, because it combines an internal combustion engine with an electric motor.

      Daimler has several electric vehicles planned for their EQ brand.

      Nissan has the distinction providing the world’s best-selling electric car; the Leaf.

      The best-selling electric car in Europe is the Renault Zoe.

      Coincidentally, Daimler, Nissan and Renault are business partners. I would say BMW will have to deal with an onslaught of electric vehicles from its main rival, Daimler, in the upcoming years.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Daimler is also planning EV production at 6 plants and they’re building their own battery factories. The EQC is scheduled for production in 2019. That’s a year ahead of this BMW.

        Hopefully, the EQC will have the 300+ kW charging rather than the 150 kW this thing has. 150kW in 2020 will be a joke. Even Tesla has its Megachargers planned for that timeframe. Porsche too.

      • 0 avatar
        arthurk45

        BMW claimed that all of their models would have all electric versions and
        could be produced on the same assembly line, at the same time, as their hybrid and ICE versions, if they existed. Daimler has the most beautiful electric concept on the planet – their Mercedes-Maybach 6 convertible.
        Makes everything from Tesla look like Salvation Army vehicles.
        Some automakers are not going whole hog into electric but are producing ICE models and EVs, able to jump as demand dictates. And some are going whole hog – GM, Volvo, and possibly others. There have been announced over 120 electric models in development for release within the next several years. Tesla will be overwhelmed, at the same time their govt subsidies disappear, leaving them in an impossible $7500 price disadvantage in the U.S. Tesla will be selling cars in China and everywhere EXCEPT the U.S.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    When all these EVs appear over the next couple of years to drumrolls and a hundred colored balloons at the dealer, together with yards of triangular flags flapping in the breeze, will anyone in the industry have worked out where the cavalcade of customers will appear from? In my circle of actual human beings, as distinct from the internet, not one has ever mentioned an electric vehicle. Ever. But all have a phone. The two are not symbiotic.

    EVs aren’t on the radar yet. And when Mr and Mrs Average do wake up, the whole range anxiety thing will happen for real, while government officials will work overtime to work out ways to tax heretofore untaxed electric juice, further reducing uptake. It’ll be a flap and a half, just you wait and see.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    Let’s see – an electric SUV with an auto trans, manufactured in China.

    This is – quite literally – the complete opposite of one of the best BMWs ever built, the E39 M5. The newest one is only 15 years young. Feels like a lifetime.

    I don’t know, maybe this push for automated electric pods is an inevitability, but good lord…count me out. I agree with @conundrum above, where is the market for these? I live in a fairly wealthy town on the MA coast and not a single person I know even talks about these things. Crikey, they still think the Prius is a little weird.

    • 0 avatar
      Stevo

      Hmmm, As I look over a lunchtime filled surface lot in Bellevue WA there are 3 Tesla’s and an i3 below me. Probably about 4% of the total cars. Lots of people I talk to (including myself) could see an electric vehicle as a next purchase. For city/near suburban dwellers with a garage and multiple cars, and there are a lot of us, the benefit of always having a vehicle full of “fuel” is compelling. I hate going to the gas station and in many cities they are hard to find.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @Parts: What town? Cohasset? Get closer to Boston (where you’ll see more tech and biotech people) and you’ll see plenty on the road. On 128/95 northbound this afternoon, besides my own car, I saw two Teslas and an i3. This morning there was a Model X southbound. Take a trip up to Southshore Plaza on a Saturday Night and you might see all 4 charging points busy. I was there one night and there were four of us plus one in the queue.

      • 0 avatar
        PartsUnknown

        @mcs – actually I’m in Marshfield, where the full-sized SUV is still king. We have a Sequoia and an XC90. I guess I look at Tesla as an outlier, almost in a category of its own: they’re an expensive, quasi-exotic car. One of my neighbors has a Model S, he loves it. His wife drives a Suburban. But still, when conversation with friends turns to cars, they are thinking about the next great pickup/SUV/crossover. In my post above, I was really referring to the seemingly inevitable electrification of mass market cars. I’m just not feeling it from the people I know. But, small sample size, yadda yadda. I just don’t think I’m ready yet.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    The problem is that this, and most other all-electrics, can’t make a 2-hour each way highway round trip on a single charge. The first thing to do at your destination would be to find and use a charging station. This makes the whole thing a non-starter for many potential customers.

    The cost of an all-electric, already not low, becomes even less attractive when the range is essentially limited to a city and its immediate region.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • redgolf: so it’s also a “smart” car too!
  • Corey Lewis: This is a GOOD idea. The PMC Signature Program, for select vehicles only. Have them fill out an...
  • Menar Fromarz: I personally don’t see a problem with the expansion of non ICE tech as there are distinct...
  • sportyaccordy: They should start a restoration program. Bring a clunker DWB Civic/Integra in with $50K or so, leave...
  • Vulpine: The question comes with how he got to be hired there. Supposedly, a salesperson needs to be bonded for...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States