BMW has opened the Australian reservation page for its iX3 electric SUV, adding to its electric lineup that also includes the i3, the i4, and the iX.
The iX3 differs from the other three models in that it is BMW’s first core model to go electric. As the all-electric version of the X3, the iX3 integrates BMW’s fifth-generation Drive technology, and offers an 80kWH battery, 210kW power from an integrated motor and drive to deliver a peak torque of 400Nm.
As an all-electric core model, the iX3 remains visually and model-politically close to the X3.
BMW’s marketing machine call this the “Power of Choice”. In real terms, this means that the X3 is available as a petrol, diesel, plug-in and pure electric vehicle.
What seems to be particularly important to the Munich-based company for their first all-electric SUV is efficiency in terms of the electric motor, the energy density of the battery and the charging capacity in its fifth-generation eDrive technology.
For the first time, the electric motor, transmission and power electronics are built into a common housing, using a synchronous motor that operates without the use of magnets. According to BMW, this design makes it possible to completely dispense with rare earth materials.
The integrated drive system has a 30% higher power density which according to BMW means the engine efficiency is now as high as 93 percent. Wityh maximum power output is 210 kW and 400 Nm torque, the iX3 can accelerate from s standing start to 100 km/hr in 6.8 seconds, with a top speed electronically limited to 180 km/hr.
Compared to previous BMW batteries, the energy density of the 188 prismatic cells has improved by around 20 per cent. As already mentioned, the gross energy content is 80 kWh, 74 kWh of which can be used to give a driving range of 460 kilometres according to the WLTP standard.
On the subject of charging, a rate of up to 11 kW on an AC charger and when connected to DC current fast-charging station, the iX3 can charge at a rate of up to 150 kW.
This means that the iX3’s high-voltage battery can be charged from empty to 80 per cent within 34 minutes, gaining 100km driving range for every 10 minutes charging.
The iX3 adjusts its braking energy recovery with the help of navigation data and the sensors in the driver assistance systems. For example, when approaching an intersection, a section of road with a speed limit or a vehicle in front, the recuperation is activated.
As an alternative to adaptive recuperation, the driver in gear D also has the option of setting high, medium or low braking energy recovery. In addition, drivers can select gear B, to activate stronger recuperation.
In terms of driving dynamics, drivers will no doubt appreciate the lower centre of gravity of the iX3 which sits 7.5 cm closer to the ground than its conventionally powered stablemates.
A responsive ARB traction system promises impressive forward thrust for a single-axle sports activity vehicle even in adverse weather conditions and on unpaved terrain.
Compared to the conventional X3 variants, the iX3 has a largely closed front apron and kidney grille. This also applies to the sub-floor. There are also new light alloy wheels, which have a 5 percent better drag coefficient compared to normal rims. According to BMW, this alone increases the range by 10 kilometres per charge and the iX3’s drag coefficient to 0.29.
BMW has not yet announced local pricing, but the iX3 is available in Europe from 69,800 euros (about $A109,000 at toady’s rates). More details will be announced closer to a local launch expected in the third quarter of 2021. The vehicle can be reserved for $A500.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.