The first prototypes for an electric version of the BMW X3 have been spotted.
The vehicle, which is expected to go by the name iX3, is confirmed for launch in late 2020, meaning we’ll likely see it arrive as a 2021 model.
After stumbling with the oddball i3, the BMW Group decided to change its approach to electric cars by developing battery-powered versions of its core models as opposed to launching standalone EVs. The move makes more sense now that electric cars are becoming more widely accepted, thanks mostly to the efforts of Tesla, and it will also save the automaker a boatload as the costs of developing the EVs can be shared with their internal combustion cousins.
The iX3 will be one of 12 electric cars the BMW Group will launch by the end of 2025. The first will be an electric Mini Hardtop due in 2019. The iX3 will follow in 2020 and the much-hyped iNext in 2021. BMW hasn’t revealed the identities of the other electric cars but a sports car is believed to be part of the lineup.
Potential rivals for the iX3 include the Audi e-tron, Jaguar i-Pace, Mercedes-Benz EQC and Tesla Model Y.
But what about BMW’s i sub-brand, which was established for vehicles with alternative powertrains? With electrification increasingly becoming the norm, BMW in 2016 changed the focus of the i sub-brand to self-driving and connectivity technologies. It means we might not see direct replacements for the sub-brand’s i3 and i8 once the models reach the end of their respective life cycles.