The BMW iX3, which is due in 2020, will be the automaker’s first pure electric vehicle to get its fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology. According to BMW, both the drive system and high-voltage battery feature state-of-the-art technologies and are completely redeveloped to offer “outstanding efficiency” and the brand’s famous driving experience.

All powertrain components used for BMW eDrive technology were completely developed in-house, whereas the battery and electric motor are produced in corporately owned manufacturing facilities. Both systems are flexibly scalable in terms of power and energy content, and because everything is done internally, BMW can choose to configure these systems to be used in various different vehicle concepts, segments, and outputs.

Now, the fifth-gen eDrive comprises a drive unit in which electric motor, system electronics and transmission are brought together into a central housing. This makes the drive unit compact, and BMW has improved the ratio between motor output and weight of the drive system by 30% compared to the outgoing system.

The electric motor in the iX3 delivers a maximum power output of 210 kW (286 hp) and 400 Nm of torque. As with any electric car, peak torque is available almost instantly, though BMW states that the acceleration can be sustained at higher motor speeds due to exclusive design measures. Also, this electric motor – which does not contain rare earth materials – can be programmed to deliver the traditional BMW rear-wheel drive experience.

As for the new battery, it’s based on the latest evolution in NMC-811 technology and features a prismatic design. The use of cobalt has been reduced by another two thirds, and when compared to older technology used by the BMW Group, the gravimetric energy density on cell level in the iX3 is 20% higher.

What’s more, the scalable battery design allows the cells to be grouped into modules, thus making the energy storage unit compact. This is then installed in an “extremely flat position” in the car, which doesn’t affect passenger or boot space. The iX3’s battery is said to get a net content of 74 kWh, which provides over 440 km of driving range based on WLTP test cycle, and the SUV has a claimed consumption of under 20 kWh per 100km.


Click to enlarge

Once the battery has served its first life in the car, it will be repurposed as a stationary battery pack instead of being thrown away. BMW has yet to reveal the lifespan of the battery pack, though.

At launch, the 2020 BMW X3 will be the brand’s first model to be available with conventional petrol and diesel engines, as well as plug-in hybrid and purely electric drive. The iX3 will be produced for the global market through the joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive in Shenyang, China.