BMW readies production of its next electric vehicle

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BMW Group has announced its next-generation electric vehicle (EV), the iX SUV, which the automaker says will be the first vehicle to feature its fifth-generation scalable EV technology.

Announced at the BMW Group #NEXTGen 2020 virtual event this week, the all-electric iX is the flagship for the company's e-drive technology range – which encompasses two electric motors, power electronics, charging technology and high-voltage battery.

The vehicle will go into production at BMW Plant Dingolfing, Germany, from the second half of 2021 and will be available in SA from the first quarter of 2022.

According to BMW, the design and technology of the iX embodies the character of the automaker’s iNEXT concept, which was introduced in 2019 with a mission to drive innovation across the company, and transform personal mobility for customers.

With a 483km range, BMW iX’s new charging technology enables direct-current fast charging at up to 200kW, enabling the battery to be charged from 10% to 80% of its full capacity in under 40 minutes.

It takes less than 11 hours to charge the high-voltage battery from 0% to 100% at 11kW from a Wallbox.

The vehicle’s computing power has been developed to process 20 times the data volume of previous models – as a result, around double the amount of data from vehicle sensors can be processed than was previously possible, according to BMW.

“We are setting new industry standards with the technology in the BMW iX,” says Frank Weber, member of the board of management of BMW AG, Development.

“The iX has more computing power for data processing and more powerful sensor technology than the newest vehicles in our current line-up, is 5G-capable, will be given new and improved automated driving and parking functions, and uses the high-performing fifth generation of our electric drive system.”

According to BMW, the concept and design of the iX are rooted in an approach to sustainability, reflected in its aerodynamics, lightweight design, and use of natural and recycled materials.

The vehicle’s power unit has been manufactured sustainably without the use of critical raw materials known as rare earths and will, by the most recent calculations, develop maximum output of more than 370kW – enough to power the BMW iX from 0 to 100km/h in under five seconds.

BMW points out the aim is for the vehicle to post a significantly low combined electric power consumption figure for its segment of less than 21kWh per 100km in the WLTP test cycle.

The batteries fitted in the iX are designed as part of a long-term resource cycle and enable a high recycling rate. The power used to produce the battery cells and the high-voltage battery come exclusively from renewable sources.

“Technology is driving the advances we need to tackle even the greatest challenges. This applies in particular to climate protection,” notes Oliver Zipse, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG.

“Mobility has to be sustainable if it is to represent a truly outstanding solution. For the BMW Group, premium mobility is not possible without responsibility.”

BMW says it aims to have a total of more than one million EVs on the roads across the globe by the end of 2021, with electrified vehicles accounting for 15% to 25% of its global sales before 2025.

The price of the iX has not yet been announced.

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