First Look: BMW iX3 electric SUV concept

By Souvik Das | Published 24 Apr 2018 17:31 IST
First Look: BMW iX3 electric SUV concept
  • The BMW iX3 will be the company's first EV since the 2013 BMW i3, and also the very first all-electric SUV, with year 2020 set as production target.

BMW is set to pick up the mettle of electric cars more seriously, and has released a teaser for its first all-electric SUV, the BMW iX3, ahead of its unveiling at Auto China 2018 in Beijing. This will be the first all-electric car that the company will be unveiling since the BMW i3 back in 2013. While most of the details remain under wraps for now, the recently released teaser gives us a glimpse at the company’s signature kidney grille, which is set to evolve in design and appearance. Three teasers have been revealed so far, showing a flatter wheel design, the reshaped kidney grille and the lack of exhaust pipes.

As you’d see in the teaser, the BMW iX3 is set to receive a rather different design to its kidney grille. It looks more like the front grille on Kia’s present crop of cars, and it remains to be seen how the new design fits into the overall car. The BMW iX3, as the name suggests, will be based on the company’s best-selling SUV in India, the BMW X3. Incidentally, the German carmaker recently launched the new generation BMW X3 in India last week, presenting an overall upgrade in aesthetics and feature, and even bumping up the powertrain. The iX3, of course, will differ majorly in powertrain, and since it would belong to the BMW i division, we’d expect changes on the inside as well.

When launched, the BMW iX3 will join the ranks of all-electric SUVs like the Tesla Model X, Audi e-Tron and the Jaguar i-Pace. The SUV will use BMW’s fifth generation electric powertrain technology, which is expected to underpin future all-electric BMWs going forward. The iX3 is being structured on BMW’s new CLAR platform, which underpins the 5 Series, 7 Series and the new generation X3. The new platform is being designed from scratch keeping EVs in mind, which will allow for more efficient management of space inside the cabin without letting the batteries placed on the car’s floor affect it.

From what we know so far, the BMW iX3 may not look drastically different from the standard edition of the BMW X3. The company is reportedly aiming for a more natural transition towards electric powertrains, which includes keeping the cars aesthetically similar to the combustion engine variants. The car has not disclosed possible powertrains, but is expected to come with two electric motors - one mounted to the front to drive the front two wheels, and the other towards the rear, and both can be used in tandem for torque vectoring.

BMW i division's only representative in India right now - the BMW i8

The BMW i division is set to work on as many as 11 all-electric cars by 2025, and has patented a bunch of names - ranging from i1 to i9, as well as iX1 to iX9. It is unlikely that all of these names will be used by BMW even in the long run, but it gives us a clear direction in which the company is thinking - rolling out electric powertrain options of cars in its existing lineup instead of going for a major overhaul of all features, design and other elements.

Additionally, BMW is also reported to be working on EV battery production and establishing a wider EV charging network across Europe. The BMW iX3 concept will be previewed tomorrow, April 25 in Beijing, and we expect to see it rolling out of production lines by 2020.

Souvik Das
Souvik Das

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