FRANKFURT -- BMW expects to start building the iX3, its first full-electric crossover, this summer, its chief executive told shareholders.
The vehicle will be the first BMW model built exclusively at the automaker’s Chinese joint venture plant in Shenyang and exported globally.
“The preparations are proceeding according to plan despite uncertainties that have resulted from the coronavirus pandemic,” CEO Oliver Zipse said during the company’s annual general meeting May 14.
The iX3 will also be the first BMW to use the automaker's flexible architecture that can underpin combustion engine, plug-in hybrid and battery-powered cars. The platform is also expected to be used by the i4 electric four-door fastback due next year.
The SUV’s 74-kilowatt-hour battery provides a range of more than 440 km (273 miles) under Europe’s WLTP test cycle. The battery includes high-density cells that are 80 percent nickel and 10 percent each for cobalt and manganese. As a result, BMW says the iX3's range matches that of rivals with larger capacity batteries.
The iX3 will also feature the new fifth-generation of BMW's eDrive, with an electrically powered induction motor that does not require the use of rare earth materials otherwise needed due to their magnetic properties.
Unlike larger peers Volkswagen Group and Daimler with their PPE and EVA2 platforms, respectively, BMW decided under former CEO Harald Krueger not to develop a dedicated architecture for battery-electric vehicles.
Building a new plant would cost roughly 1 billion euros, whereas ramping up existing facilities to produce battery-electric vehicles will amount to a nine-digit investment mainly for body shop and assembly, BMW has argued.