When German automaker BMW launched its “BMW i” sub-brand in 2011, it signified the company’s serious intent to develop electrified products that were more in tune with the times. The first fruits of this project were the i8 hybrid sports coupe and the i3 all-electric small hatchback.
At Auto China 2018 in Beijing, BMW has for the first time presented its plan to put electric propulsion inside a legitimate X model—or a Sports Activity Vehicle, to be exact. That plan is embodied in the sleek Concept iX3.
One look at the Concept iX3 and you immediately identify it as a BMW X vehicle. The only giveaway that it might be different is the new face that gives the iconic twin-kidney grille a fresh interpretation. Oh, and that lid on the left front fender, of course—suggesting that the car draws power from a source other than the usual ones.
The Concept iX3, according to BMW, represents the fifth generation of the brand’s eDrive technology. From the press statement:
A key benefit of this electric drive technology of the future is the grouping together of the electric motor, the transmission and the power electronics within a new, separate electric drive component. Plus, the fifth-generation electric drive system also includes new and more powerful batteries. This fresh package of technology brings considerable advances in terms of performance characteristics, operating range, weight, packaging space and flexibility—and will be making its debut in the purely electrically driven SAV.
BMW says the electric motor that the Concept iX3 is equipped with is capable of producing more than 270hp. The car’s 70kWh battery pack gives it a driving range in excess of 400km, the company claims. The high-voltage battery is said to boast a fast-charging mode that enables it to be charged “in just 30 minutes.”
Now, this is not just another concept vehicle designed to entertain Chinese car enthusiasts. The automaker has disclosed that its BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture in China will produce the production version of the Concept iX3 in the city of Shenyang in the Liaoning province. So yes, an electric X3 is definitely coming.
As we like to say these days: Welcome to an electric motoring world.