BMW kicked off this week’s Beijing Motor Show with two announcements today. The company unveiled a concept version of the forthcoming iX3 SUV, which is arguably going to be the company’s first serious effort at a mass-produced fully electric car meant for the global market. The other announcement is that the iX3 will be made in China.
The iX3, due out in 2020, is not all that differently styled from the X3 compact SUV that it’s based on (though BMW has toyed with its famous kidney grille a bit). The company says the iX3 packs 270 horsepower and is estimating around 250 miles of range, which means it would last around 10 miles longer on a single charge than the dual-motor Jaguar I-Pace or a base level Tesla Model X. It will do all that with 70kWh battery pack, which is smaller than the one on the I-Pace (90kWh) or the Model X (75kWh). The iX3 will also be compatible with 150kW fast charging.
These are all vast improvements to the car that the iX3 is ostensibly taking the baton from: the BMW i3. That was the company’s actual first fully electric vehicle, something that’s obvious in hindsight when you look at the specs. The i3 maxed out at 113 miles of range from a 33kWh battery after a 2017 update, and it offered a more modest 170 horsepower. It also had a kooky, futuristic, and polarizing design.
Despite all that, the i3 was able to carve out a niche in the nascent EV market and, all told, BMW has sold about 100,000 of them globally since it launched. The iX3 will face far…