BMW has started production of the all-electric iX3. According to the carmaker, the first BMW iX3 rolled off the production line at the BMW Brilliance Automotive factory in Shenyang, China on 29 September.
In a statement, BMW stresses high-quality manufacturing, saying a ‘zero defect concept’ would ensure the iX3 meets “the globally high market requirements for electric mobility”. The BMW iX3 is only the second all-electric car of the company and the first model made in China for export to key world markets.
The UK is one such market, where BMW opened pre-orders in mid-September with two exclusive editions. UK customer deliveries would commence in summer 2021, according to the joint venture. Prices will start from £61,900 and £64,900 respectively. That is equivalent to euro prices which BMW set at around €70,000.
The iX3 is the first model to utilise the fifth-generation e-drive, which combines an electric motor, power electronics and transmission in one central housing. The electric motor mounted in the rear generates 210 kW and offers the maximum torque of 400 Newton meters over a wide range. BMW specified acceleration to 100 kph in 6.8 seconds and limited the top speed to 180 kph. The battery with a gross energy content of 80 kWh (74 kWh net) claims a range of up to 460 kilometres in WLTP. (In China the otherwise obsolete NEDC is still in use, where the iX3 achieves a range of up to 520 kilometres). The production version, therefore, remains the same as when BMW presented the iX3 in July.
The iX3 is also the first of three new electric, i-branded BMW models coming to market within the next 18 months. As mentioned, production will take place exclusively at the factory operated by BMW and Chinese carmaker Brilliance in Shenyang, Liaoning. The joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) also opened another battery centre at the Tiexi location in China, where they make the batteries for the iX3.
There, BMW’s latest procurement strategy for battery materials is taking effect, again for the first time with the iX3. The Group buys raw materials such as lithium and cobalt directly from the mines and then makes the material available to cell manufacturers. Compared to the previous battery generation, the proportion of cobalt used in the production of the new high-voltage storage device has been reduced to around one third.
To recharge the BMW ix3, the manufacturer has enabled 150 kW for charging from 0 to 80 per cent in 34 minutes. The average charging power is thus 104 kW. In contrast to the i3, which was able to use its maximum charging power up to over 80 per cent SoC, BMW here cuts off the iX3 charging power earlier, albeit at a significantly higher level. The company speaks of a “unique combination of low power consumption and high charging power,” which would enable long-distance journeys at high average speeds. Other manufacturers offer a little more, but compared to the i3 or Mini Cooper SE (max. 50 kW), the progress is clear. The AC charging power is 11 kW.
The BMW Charging Card gives drivers access to over 450,000 charging points worldwide. However, customers of a BMW iX3 electric car benefit from a special tariff at Ionity high power charging points at 0.29 €/kWh as opposed to the Ionity charges of 0.79 €/kWh in other offers.
BBA produces the fully-electric BMW iX3 on the same line as the model with the combustion engine.