If you can’t beat them…

These pictures were taken in Germany, but they show a car that can be sold solely in China. Thanks to Andreas Mau, from Carpix, you are in front of images of the electric-only version of the new BMW 3 Series, also known as G20. The “Electric Test Vehicle” stickers are not the main reason for us to infer what this prototype is all about.

Gallery: This G20 BMW 3 Series Doesn’t Burn Fuel - It’s Electric

First of all, it has no exhaust pipes, as you will be able to see in our gallery. The front end camo also hides the fact that the grille is probably closed since there is no need for engine cooling. Last, but not least, it uses the LWB body, which is exclusively offered to Chinese customers.

As Mau told us, the most obvious indication is that the electric 3 Series will be a China-only version. But think about it: wouldn’t BMW be glad about more room for a bigger battery pack on the CLAR platform? If it is possible, why not have it?

It is worth considering that the 3 Series EV will compete with the Tesla Model 3, which is already produced in Shanghai. If BMW wants Chinese customers to even consider its sedan, they have to give it a respectable range.

That benefit could be used not only in China but also in the US and Europe. Many loyal BMW customers in these places would probably prefer to have a 3 Series than a Model 3 – especially if they are willing to go electric.

The CLAR platform was conceived to have an electric powertrain. In other words, we would not doubt if the electric 3 Series could be offered in 2020 already. If it takes a little longer, it will probably not be more than a year from now. 

Will the 3 Series EV have compromises, as the Mercedes-Benz EQC has? Will it offer a frunk and a more Tesla-like approach to other aspects, such as battery management? It would probably be wise. As you know, when you can’t beat them, you’d better join them – in the most convincing way possible.