The BMW Concept iX3, unveiled in China, showcases the company’s fifth-generation eDrive system for electric vehicles. The iX3’s eDrive groups the transmission, electric motor, and power electronics in one unit, and is powered by more energy-dense batteries.
The new BMW eDrive system is what next-generation BMW i vehicles will use going forward, the company says. The iX3 is a concept of the sport activity vehicle as an all-electric crossover using the new-gen eDrive. Versions of this eDrive’s previous incarnation are powering the iPerformance line of electrics as well as the MINI Cooper SE Countryman. The new eDrive is a prominent feature of the upcoming iNext powertrain, due in 2021, BMW says.
The Concept iX3 plug-in showcases the near-future plans for electrification from the German automaker, being designed on a scalable architecture. The eDrive system is adaptable to front-, rear- and all-wheel drive variations as well. The eDrive’s modular design allows for a wide variation in vehicle design and will be key to BMW’s planned proliferation of plug-ins throughout its lineup. A big part of that modular makeup is the eDrive’s all-in-one design.
Because the new eDrive is one unit with all basic components already on board, designers and engineers can modify components around it rather than whole drivetrains. Power can be supplied by more than one source as well, making the eDrive unit capable of being utilized in both hybrids and pure electric vehicles – including those with fuel cells. BMW has specifically tuned the eDrive unit to be capable of working with its new high-voltage batteries, coming to market soon.
The BMW Concept iX3 itself is a new-generation iteration of the larger X5 xDrive40e iPerformance model. Motor output in the iX3 is 200 kW (270 horsepower) and its new high-voltage batteries have more than 70 kWh of storage. This gives the Concept iX3 a range of more than 400 km (249 miles) in the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedures (WLTP) cycle. Those batteries are also capable of charging from empty to full at 150 kW, giving it just a 30-minute charge, empty to full.
The Concept iX3 is otherwise a newly-designed concept showing the potential way forward for BMW designs with electrics such as this. The kidney grille is closed off and the bodywork is a bit sportier than the current production X3.