BMW’s fully electric China-made SUV labeled iX3 set to hit markets

BMW showcased the all-new iX3, built in China, a variant of the mid-size X3 and its first fully electric, battery-powered SUV, via an online news conference on Tuesday.

BMW electric SUV

BMW AG, the luxury vehicle manufacturer based in Munich, Germany now has its own electric sports utility vehicle (SUV). This vehicle will be giving a fierce competition to the American multi-billionaire Elon Musk’s Tesla inc’s Model Y. Mercedes-Benz, a German automotive marque and a subsidiary of Daimler AG launched a fully-electric compact luxury SUV labeled EQC in 2019. BMW’s China-made electric SUV which is all set to hit the markets will most likely face tough competition there as well.

Mercedes Benz had launched a fully electric Mercedes EQ family of which Mercedes-Benz EQC was the first model. The German automaker aims to expand this range to include 10 new models by 2022.

Read more: 2020 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe: Price and specifications

Price

BMW showcased the all-new iX3, built in China, a variant of the mid-size X3 and its first fully electric, battery-powered SUV, via an online news conference on Tuesday. The model will sell from about 68,000 euros ($77,000/ 61,603 Pounds) in Germany.

The iX3’s starting price puts it just below Mercedes Benz’s electric EQC, which sells from 69,500 euros/ 79,039 USD/ 63,269 Pound Sterling. Tesla’s Model Y starts at 58,600 euros (66,643 USD/ 53,338 Pound Sterling) in Germany.

The iX3, which will start selling late 2020, will be followed next year by the company’s flagship iNext SUV and the i4 sedan. The company will also make an electric version of its top-end 7-series car, though it has not said when that model will come out.

Engine and performance

Built-in China, the car comes with an electronically-controlled top speed of 180 kilometers per hour (112 mph) and a 286-mile range. It represents the start of BMW’s most serious push into electric cars since the i3 debuted seven years ago.

The iX3 “is perfect for every distance,” BMW Chief Executive Officer Oliver Zipse said during the event.

Read more: BMW plans dozens of new Electric Models

BMW was an early entrant into electric mobility with the i3, but fell behind the likes of Tesla and Volkswagen AG, which have since pushed more aggressively into the market. Automakers trying to electrify their fleets are now slashing costs after the coronavirus pandemic caused one of the worst sales slumps ever.

Worldwide, BMW has set itself the goal of having more than one million fully-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids on the roads by the end of 2021.

Demand for its flagship BMW i3 electric car jumped by around 20 percent in 2019 compared with 2018, according to a report.

BMW board member Nicolas Peter last year said the Chinese joint venture, known as Spotlight Automotive Limited, underscored “the enormous importance of the Chinese market for us”.

BMW’s Chief Executive Zipse’s guiding philosophy has been to make all types of cars, from gasoline to electric, on the same production platform, which he says lets the company react more quickly to consumer demand.

BMW’s electric mini in China

Luxury German carmaker BMW last year stated it would build fully electric models of its Mini cars at a new plant in China, as it kicked off a joint venture with Chinese partner Great Wall Motor.

Some 160,000 cars a year were set to roll off the assembly line at the planned factory in the city of Zhangjiagang in Jiangsu province, which will eventually employ 3,000 people.

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Construction of the plant is slated to last from 2020 to 2022, BMW said in a statement. Both partners are together investing 650 million euros ($715 million) in the project.

Alongside BMW’s all-electric Mini, the Chinese company will also build some of its own brand models at the plant. “This is another important step towards the Mini brand’s electrified future,” the statement said.

A slowing economy, US-China trade tensions, and a Chinese crackdown on shady credit practices have all weighed on demand.

The BMW group had already announced it would start manufacturing the first fully electric version of the iconic compact car at its Mini plant in Oxford, England.

Those first Mini E models were set to come to market this year. The Chinese tie-up came as BMW joined other global carmakers in accelerating the shift to electric and hybrid vehicles, spurred by environmental concerns.

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The costly pivot to the cleaner, smarter cars of tomorrow is hitting automakers hard at a time when the global industry is battling headwinds from a darkening economic outlook.

China is the world’s largest car market but after years of strong growth, car sales there fell last year for the first time since the 1990s.

A slowing economy, US-China trade tensions, and a Chinese crackdown on shady credit practices have all weighed on demand.

 

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