BMW's next phase of electric vehicles is about to begin.
The upcoming 2021 BMW iX3 is far from the most mysterious future vehicle. BMW's first electric SUV has been spotted testing many times and more recently, it was leaked completely with no camouflage. Seeing the iX3 in full wasn't too surprising, as the model looks exactly like you'd expect from an electric version of the X3, similar but with some changes to the wheels and fascias.
It may not be shrouded in mystery like some other upcoming new models but the iX3 should still be an important launch for BMW. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, BMW is on schedule with the iX3. In fact, the electric model is about to begin production in China.
Production of the iX3 is slated to begin at the BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture (BBA) in China starting in the late summer. BMW says the first iX3 examples will be delivered to customers before the end of 2020. Homologation testing for the vehicle has already been completed for several key markets, meaning the iX3 is ready to go on sale.
"This is the first time we have completed the entire homologation process for a fully electric model in China and Europe at the same time. The staff on our testing team mastered this unique challenge with tremendous dedication and efficiency," said Arno Keller, head of Development for the iX3. BMW says more than 340 hours of testing with over 7,700 kilometers (4,800 miles) of test drives were completed in just four weeks.
BBA has also been building pre-production versions of the iX3 at its Plant Dadong in Shenyang since the middle of 2019. The 200th pre-production model was recently assembled and sent out for final testing.
"We are right on schedule with our BMW iX3 pre-production vehicles and will launch standard production in late summer, using state-of-the-art technologies such as custom installation of the new high-voltage battery and artificial intelligence for monitoring parts," explained Robert Kussel, BBA Plant Director Dadong. "We are also producing the fully-electric BMW iX3 and the BMW X3 with combustion engine on the same production line. This enables us to achieve high efficiency and flexibility in production."
The iX3 is expected to arrive sporting a single electric motor producing 285 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque with a range of at least 250-miles on the EPA cycle. When it arrives, the iX3 will compete with the Jaguar I-Pace, Mercedes-Benz EQC, and Tesla Model Y.