Colin-on-Cars – BMW adds electric X3 to the range

It will not see South African roads until the fourth quarter of next year but, as part of an ongoing model offensive, BMW has launched the electric version of the X3, which it claims provides all the Sports Activity Vehicle pleasures with zero emissions and zero fuel use.

The BMW X3 will be the first model to be available with petrol and diesel engines, a plug-in hybrid system or a pure-electric drive system. The market launch of the iX3 will begin later in 2020, when sales get underway in China. It will be the brand’s first model to also be built for export at the Shenyang plant in China, which is operated by the joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive.

The premiere of the new BMW iX3 also fires the starting gun for the fifth generation of BMW eDrive technology. The latest versions of the electric motor, power electronics, charging technology and high-voltage battery have enabled progress in the areas of performance characteristics, electric power consumption and range. The components developed by the BMW Group will also be fitted in the BMW iNEXT and BMW i4 models from 2021.

The electric motor, transmission and power electronics are arranged together in a single housing. The electric motor in the new BMW iX3 works according to the principle of a current-excited synchronous motor, without the use of magnets. This design allows rare earths to be entirely avoided in the manufacturing of the motor.

The power density of the electric motor in the BMW iX3 is 30% greater than that of existing fully electric vehicles from the BMW Group. The motor displays efficiency of up to 93%, in comparison to under 40% for combustion engines. The new drive system unit generates maximum output of 210 kW and peak torque of 400 Nm which, unlike with many other electric motors, is sustained at high revs.

The new BMW iX3 sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 6,8 seconds, putting it on equal footing with the conventionally powered BMW X3 xDrive30i. Top speed is electronically limited to 180 km/h.

A gross energy content of 80 kWh – of which 74 kWh is utilised – and the efficiency of the drive systems allow the new BMW iX3 to offer a range of up to 459 kilometresin the WLTP test cycle and up to

520 kilometres in the NEDC test cycle.

The high-voltage battery in the BMW iX3 can be charged from 0% to 80% of its full capacity in 34 minutes. Drivers can inject the power required to add 100 kilometres to the car’s driving range (in the WLTP cycle) in 10 minutes of charging.

The battery has a slim construction. Positioned low down in the car’s underbody, it can be integrated into the SAV’s flexible vehicle architecture. This lowers the car’s centre of gravity by around 7,5 centimetres compared with its conventionally powered BMW X3 siblings, noticeably enhancing lateral dynamics.

Among the bespoke elements of the BMW iX3’s chassis construction is a rear axle subframe, which offers the required installation space for the drive system unit. The standard adaptive suspension includes electronically controlled dampers, whose characteristics adapt to the road surface and situation

at hand. This enables carefully judged optimisation of the car’s ride comfort and dynamics. The optional Adaptive M suspension is tuned to deliver particularly sporty damper response.

Options and equipment levels for the local variants will be finalised closer to actual launch.

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