BMW iX & BMW i4 — BMW’s Next-Gen Electric Offerings
BMW made a couple of electric vehicle announcements today, letting us all know that it’s still alive even after the massive electric vehicle offensive Volkswagen rolled out this week. In particular, the company unveiled its two next-gen electric vehicles, the BMW i4 and the BMW iX.
Below is info on range, power, and acceleration specs for these models, as well as some important notes on BMW’s commitment to true sustainability and climate action.
Starting with the biggest teaser, the BMW i4 was unveiled today at the BMW Group Annual Conference. The 4-door Gran Coupé will be available with a variety of options, trims, ranges, etc., including an M Performance version. Putting the range metric in both European and US terms, BMW noted that the i4 will be available with “up to 590km (WLTP) and up to 300 miles (EPA).”
Max power will be 390 kW/530 HP, which will provide acceleration to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just about 4 seconds.
That’s basically all the info for now. More details will be coming in the next few weeks. For now, here are more pics:
The other new electric BMW is the iX, which comes in two core forms — BMW iX xDrive50 and BMW iX xDrive40. It will hit the market by the end of 2021. It falls into the Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) class, according to BMW (rather than just being another boring SUV or crossover).
BMW’s batteries have seen a 20% improvement in gravimetric energy density over BMW’s previous-generation lithium-ion batteries, and efficiency is quite good at 21 kWh per 100 kilometers for the iX xDrive50 and 20 kWh per 100 kilometers for the iX xDrive40.
The BMW iX xDrive50 ends up with a range rating of 600 kilometers (373 miles) via its 100 kWh battery (WLTP). The BMW iX xDrive40 ends up above 400 kilometers (249 miles).
Meanwhile, the max charge rates for these models are 200 kW and 150 kW, respectively. That’s plenty for a quick charge on a road trip — 10 minutes to add more than 120 kilometers (75 miles) and 90 kilometers (56 miles) of range. “In both model variants, the high-voltage battery’s charge can be increased from 10 to 80 per cent of its full capacity in under 40 minutes.”
Notably, the underlying electric powertrain is a shared platform and this is the first vehicle using it. “It is the first model based on a new, modular, scalable toolkit on which the future of the BMW Group will be built.”
Additionally, BMW is focused on a fully green, cleantech, ecosystem-based approach with the production of these SAVs. “The development and production of the BMW iX follow an all-encompassing approach to sustainability involving compliance with strict environmental and social standards in the extraction of raw materials, plus the use of electricity from renewable sources and a high proportion of recycled materials in the mix.”
Furthermore, the company notes that BMW Group procures lithium and cobalt itself — from Morocco and Australia — to ensure they are sources from humane operations that don’t use child labor, and then supplies the lithium and cobalt to the battery cell manufacturers that produce BMW’s batteries. And then those battery factories are powered with 100% renewable energy. The company also uses aluminum produced using solar power. And that’s not all.
“The car’s interior features FSC-certified wood, leather tanned with olive leaf extracts and other natural materials. Among the raw materials used for the floor coverings and mats are recovered fishing nets.”
“Rather than simply passing responsibility on to the supplier network, we take responsibility together with our direct suppliers,” explains Dr Andreas Wendt, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Purchasing and Supplier Network. “In so doing, we tap into our many years of experience and create processes for attaining greater transparency and traceability.”
“We made a promise and we will deliver on that promise: the market launch of the BMW iX will get underway at the end of this year with a two-pronged approach – in the form of the BMW iX xDrive40 and BMW iX xDrive50,” says Pieter Nota, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Customer, Brands and Sales. “We have already set out the pricing for Germany. For example, the BMW iX xDrive40 will start at 77,300 EUR, which puts it at the level of a comparable BMW X5 with conventional combustion engine. Plus, our customers will now benefit from new additions to the range of vehicle functions that can be uploaded to their cars during ownership, and enjoy a seamless and extremely customer-oriented configuration process with personalised products and services.”
BMW notes that the motors are actually quicker to respond and more consistent than typical electric motors found in electric cars. This is an interesting and surprising note considering that electric cars are known for their instant torque. But, apparently, BMW’s motors step it up a notch. “They work according to the principle of a current-excited synchronous motor. The excitation of the rotor in the BMW iX motors is not induced by fixed permanent magnets, but the feed-in of electric energy. This removes the need for the critical materials used to manufacture magnets, and the BMW Group is therefore not reliant on their availability.
“This special design also has a positive effect on the motors’ performance characteristics. The precisely controlled excitation of the rotor using electric power enables peak torque to be on tap in full immediately on pulling away. And — unlike with electric motors of conventional design — that torque is maintained over an extremely broad rev band. The defining trait of the driving experience on board the BMW iX is, then, power development that is not only lightning fast but also unusually consistent, underscoring the car’s brand-typical sporting excellence.”
The 370 kW/500 HP (which may sound familiar) gets the iX models to 100 km/h in under 5 seconds.
As far as the design — well, I think the sides and back look great. … I’m yet to find someone who likes the giant beaver-like grille? Maybe you do?
Naturally, the most important question is how many units of these vehicles is BMW prepared to produce? European Union regulations will ensure there’s at least a semi-decent number, but how high will BMW go?