BMW has finally unveiled the iX3, a full-electric (EV) SUV that will start production in China later this year, and get launched in Mzansi about a year – late 2021. The iX3 is the brand’s first-ever EV SUV and follows in the tyre tracks of the i3, the company’s first-ever mass-produced EV. While it weighs over 300kg more, it is based on the popular X3 but is missing one main ingredient; an engine.

Power comes from an eDrive electric motor that produces 210kW of electric power and 400Nm of torque. BMW says it can sprint from 0 – 100km/h in just 6.8 seconds, reaching a top speed of 180km/h. It emits 0 g/km in C02 emissions. Surprisingly the iX3 will pull forward using only the rear wheels, which means no xDrive all-wheel-drive. These performance figures of interest of course, especially because this is BMW after all. However, the main figure of interest is the range. BMW says the iX3 has a range of up to 460km in accordance to the new WLTP testing standards.

What caught my eye was that if the old NEDC system is used, the range shoots up to 520km. This means a trip between Johannesburg and Polokwane would not require any recharging stops along the way, while one from Johannesburg to Durban would need one stop in Harrismith. We’ll find out for certain when we drive the car next year.

BMW has over 450 000 public charging stations globally, and some of those can be found at BMW SA head office in Midrand, Melrose Arch, OR Tambo International Airport and some BMW dealerships nationwide among others. Of course one can also charge at home. With the car plugged into a Wallbox, BMW says, the high-voltage battery can be charged from 0 to 100% at up to 11 kW in 7.5 hours.

This being an electric X3 means it is still essentially an X3. That is to say it carries five passengers and has loading capacity of between 510 litres and 1 560 litres, depending on the rear seat configuration. It also has feature one would expect from such a vehicle, including new 20-inch alloy wheels in a rather unique design, LED headlights, automatic tailgate, panoramic sunroof, sports seats, and a Harman Kardon surround sound system, and Android Auto/ Apple CarPlay smart phone integration among others.

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