BMW has rolled out a trio of electric vehicles, a move the company says signifies the beginning of the second phase of its move towards e-mobility.
Pieter Nota, member of the board of management of BMW for customer, brands, sales, said at the launch that the new vehicles are milestones and are “bringing electrification to the core of BMW”. As the second phase of the electric transformation peaks in 2025, the company says deliveries of fully electric models will have grown by an average of well over 50 per cent a year. By the end of 2025, BMW plans to have delivered around two million fully electric vehicles around the world.
As the heralds of phase two, the newly unveiled 2022 iX and two 2022 i4 models are successors to the German manufacturer’s first generation of i-branded electric cars, the i3 and i8, which were launched in 2012 and arrived in Canada in 2014.
But they also have heritage going back much further, according to Domagoj Dukec, the head of BMW design. “Right now we want to recreate what we achieved with the ‘Neue Klasse’ in the 60′s, where we actually made BMW – why everybody loves this brand,” he said in the launch video.
Dukec was referring to the iconic pioneering BMW sports cars built between the early 1960s and late 1970s, which helped define the company as a carmaker. The company has resurrected the Neue Klasse moniker for these new EVs, which will share new software, performance electric drivetrains and a push towards sustainability from one end of the supply chain to the other.
As part of that commitment, BMW is taking pains to eliminate the use of rare earth minerals in its batteries, and is building sustainability into its manufacturing facilities around the world. Initiatives include generating its own electricity from hydro power adjacent to its factories, and providing its own water supply for production, as well as recycling water used in processes like the paint shop.
Nota said at the launch that the new vehicles are milestones, “bringing electrification to the core of BMW”. Indeed, for the sustainability-minded driver, this trio of BMWs promises “unbeatable performance with zero local emissions,” he added.
Perhaps the most notable of the three will be the i4 M50, the first fully electric offering from the company’s performance M brand. The four-door sedan will boast 536 horsepower (in boost mode), all-wheel drive, and a range of 385 km, using BMW’s fifth generation eDrive battery and drivetrain. With a drive bias to the rear wheels, it will be a true sports car loaded with BMW’s renowned suspension and a chassis tuned for handling.
Its sister car, the i4 eDrive40 will deliver 335 horsepower and rear-wheel drive. Its range is estimated to be 475 km. Both vehicles will have DC fast charging capacity of up to 200 kW and AC Level 2 charging of up to 11 kW. On a fast charger the i4 can add almost 130 km of range in 10 minutes. BMW claims the latest version of the eDrive battery has greater energy density than the previous iteration, helping to increase its range, along with regenerative braking, low drag and heat recovery systems.
Both the i40 models are expected in Canada in the first quarter of 2022. Pricing has not yet been shared.
The 2022 iX xDrive50 is also slated to arrive at Canadian dealerships in the first quarter of 2022, with an MSRP of $89,999. BMW is taking orders for the five-seat all-wheel drive SUV (which BMW calls a sports activity vehicle, or SAV) starting on June 2, 2021.
With electric motors on each axle, it creates a combined output of 516 HP and 564 lb.-ft. of torque. Range is estimated at 475 km. It will accommodate DC fast charging at up to 200 kW, which will boost a battery at 10 per cent by 150 km in 10 minutes or charge it to 80 per cent in just over half an hour.
All three vehicles share BMWs new curved display, which combines a 12.3-inch information display and 14.9-inch control display effectively merge into a single driver-focused unit. The glass is antireflective which has allowed BMW designers to eliminate the protective cowling. The display thus appears to float in front of the driver. The screen has also been designed to eliminate much of the switchgear normally found on the centre console and stack. Together these new design elements generate a futuristic feel to the cockpit.
The next offering in the lineup of futuristic “guilt-free” performance electric rides from the Bavarian builder will be an iX M60, the first M-branded electric SAV, which should be unveiled in 2022.