Electric Cars

BMW iX3 concept is a nearly here electric SUV from China

You're looking at a new battery-electric SUV that's headed to US dealers via the Beijing Motor Show.

BMW

BMW has been promising an electric SUV based on its X3 compact crossover for some time now, and this iX3 concept is our clearest look yet at the model that's expected to go into production in 2020. 

Unveiled at today's Beijing Motor Show, the Concept iX3 incorporates BMW's fifth-generation EV hardware in a modular chassis, including a motor that puts out over 270 horsepower -- a nice bump over the 240 hp in today's gas-powered X3. 

The Auto China show star also leverages the new SUV-sized battery cells that the German automaker has been working on, enabling a promised range for the 70-kWh pack of over 249 miles on the WLTP test cycle (which tends to be more generous than our US testing methodologies). 

Those batteries will be able to accept a charging rate of up to 150 kW, which is significantly quicker than most charging stations are capable of today. (Notably, that includes Tesla's Supercharger network). In practical terms, that means the iX3 could fill its pack to 80 percent in as little as 30 minutes.

The company will produce a production version of this concept in Shenyang, China at its BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture facility, and plans to export the model to the United States. BMW has planned an onslaught of electrified models, including the forthcoming iNext and I4 models.

Blue trim will be a visual cue for future electric BMW models.

BMW

So, how does it look? In a word: Normal. The two-box shape looks awfully familiar, and with the exception of an unusually oversized, a conjoined version of BMW's trademark twin-kidney grille and blue trim to indicate its EVness, the iX3 looks like it could already be on sale as a version of today's X3. That's quite a departure from today's i3 urban runabout, BMW's first all-electric model that's sold in relatively small numbers since its 2013 debut. 

The production iX3 will battle it out in a suddenly growing crop of premium crossover SUVs that will include the almost-here Jaguar i-Pace, Audi Q6 E-Tron and Mercedes-Benz EQC. It is expected to cost less than Tesla's Model X, currently the only all-electric luxury SUV on the market.

2017 BMW X3 sDrive28i Sports Activity Vehicle