BMW to offer electric X3 SUV, Mini

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The new BMW X2 concept car was displayed at the Paris auto show.
The new BMW X2 concept car was displayed at the Paris auto show.

German luxury auto maker BMW will offer all electric versions of its next-generation BMW X3 compact sport utility vehicle and electric Mini models, expanding its entries in the emerging electric luxury vehicle market.

Reuters reported on 9 September that top BMW executives were skipping Paris auto show events this week to resolve differences over electric vehicle strategy and chart a new electric product offensive, including a possible electric Mini.

The electric Mini is expected to debut in about three years, company officials said.

BMW faces increasing pressure from German rivals Daimler and Volkswagen as well as Tesla Motors of the US, which have outlined aggressive plans to court affluent buyers - and respond to regulators - with new electric vehicles.

BMW moved earlier than its German rivals to field innovative electric cars, launching the BMW i3 battery-powered city car in 2013 with a lightweight body made of carbon fibre instead of steel or aluminium. However, the i3 and the plug-in hybrid i8 have been slow sellers.

Meanwhile, Tesla is aiming for sales of 80 000 or more electric sedans and sport utility vehicles this year, and has said that nearly 400 000 would-be buyers have placed reservations for its Model 3 sedan. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said he is targeting a July 2017 launch for the Model 3.

Daimler and VW used this week's Paris auto show to promote plans to launch new waves of electric vehicles.

Germany's luxury car champions face a convergence of pressure to embrace electric vehicles from regulatory mandates and from Tesla's success at winning affluent consumers to the idea of premium electric vehicles.

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