BMW iX is the Bavarian automaker’s attempt to carve out as big a piece of the growing electric luxury SUV pie as it can. The iX is a ground-up model designed as a battery electric vehicle that features lots of new tech, including an all-new iDrive infotainment system, as well as the latest generation of BMW’s eDrive electric powertrain.
Recently, the automaker released yet another preview press release, highlighting some of the iX’s features, as well as shedding some light on some of its technical specifications. The manufacturer also confirmed that it will start accepting pre-orders in the US as of June 2021, and that the model’s US launch and start of deliveries is expected to take place early in 2022 with a starting price somewhere in the mid-$80,000 range.
Gallery: BMW iX
The model will be badged iX xDrive50 (there will apparently be just the one powertrain option, at least at first) and it is apparently the most sustainable vehicle that BMW has ever built, thanks to
Closely monitored raw materials extraction, the exclusive use of electricity from renewable sources in the production process and an extraordinarily high proportion of recycled materials.
Lithium is another critical-classified raw material that is vital for the production of high-voltage - more - - 4 - batteries. The BMW Group sources this raw material directly before supplying it to battery cell manufacturers. This ensures complete transparency regarding the origin of the raw materials required for lithium-ion batteries.
BMW is still not revealing the exact range quote - all it says it will do around 300 miles according to its estimates and that this range will come courtesy of a 100+ kWh battery pack. You will be able to charge the iX at up to 200 kW, which will bring it from 10 to 80 percent state of charge in 40 minutes; 10 minutes will add an additional 75 miles of range.
We are also told the battery pack (which is placed low, in the floor of the vehicle) is encased in aluminum and that it has a structural role in the chassis. The press release also mentions that thanks to the advance of lithium-ion cells, the ones it uses to power the iX have 20 percent better energy density than anything the manufacturer has used so far.
The automaker also talks about adaptive energy recuperation, which changes based on what the driver requires from the vehicle. This is the standard regen mode with the vehicle is in D, but you can also choose high, medium or low settings too.
In position D, the new BMW iX xDrive50 pulls away at minimal speed as soon as the brake pedal is released, increasing comfort when maneuvering and in stop-start traffic. And activating driving position B with the selector lever generates the one-pedal feeling characteristic of the BMW Group’s electric vehicles by providing particularly strong recuperation.
It’s interesting to note that the adaptive recuperation changes the level of regen on the go, depending on sat-nav information, as well as the driver assistance system sensors. On open and more straight roads, the vehicle will favor coasting, and when the car approaches a bend, when the driver lifts off the go pedal, the iX will crank up the regen. And even during coasting, if the driver activates the turn signals, regen will automatically activate.
Gallery: BMW iDrive 8
We imagine this system will take some getting used to, since lifting off the go pedal will produce different and possibly unpredictable results, but it also has the potential to increase range; it will be interesting to test out this system and see how it fares in real-world driving conditions once the iX debuts.
BMW still won’t tell us how much power and torque the iX xDrive50 makes, but we are told it hits 62 mph (100 km/h) in under 5 seconds, as well as the fact that it tops out at 124 mph (200 km/h) - the top speed is electronically governed, but it seems quite low for a vehicle that we are told will have 493 horsepower (500 PS).
What the manufacturer has told us is its electric motors, developed in-house, are different from most competing designs - BMW says they no longer require rare earth magnets to function.
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 allows the rare earths required for magnetic components to be entirely avoided in the manufacture of the motors. The precisely controlled excitation of the rotor using electric power enables peak torque to be on tap immediately on pulling away. And – unlike with electric motors of conventional design – that torque is maintained over an extremely broad rev band.
We’re eagerly awaiting more definitive, concrete technical information on the iX. Not everybody may be on board with its design, but it is nevertheless a cornerstone model in BMW’s electrification strategy and an important EV in the grander scheme of things. Both it and the i4 (which will be unveiled tomorrow) will spearhead the automaker’s electric offensive and try to woo buyers away from ever popular Teslas and other manufacturers’ increasingly talented pure-electric offerings.