BMW Starts Producing Its First iX3 All-Electric Crossover In China

This model won't make its way to the United States, but it's still an important milestone

BMW’s first all-electric production crossover left the assembly line in Shenyang, China Friday. It’s significant as the car represents the first pure EV model in the brand’s ‘core’ lineup of sedans and SUVs, separate from cars like the i3. Workers at the BMW-Brilliance Automotive (BBA) plant will build the SUV alongside the combustion engine-powered X3 for China as well as several global markets.

The BMW iX3 uses the brand’s fifth-generation ‘eDrive’ system. With a 80-kWh battery supplying energy, the electric motor exclusively sends power to the rear wheels. Total system output stands at 282 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. That’s a healthy amount for a rear-wheel drive crossover, with 0-60 coming up in 6.8 seconds according to BMW. Unlike its gasoline-driven equivalent, however, top speed here is limited to 112 mph.

On the WLTP cycle, the BMW iX3 should manage a range of 285 miles. Using EPA metrics, that translates to somewhere around 200 miles on a charge, as that measurement tends to come up shorter than the European-developed lab test. BMW says the iX3 undergoes rigorous testing before it leaves the factory, including 128 mechanical test and 994 software functionality tests.

Is it coming to the United States?

While this is BMW’s first all-electric crossover, it will not come to the United States.

Back in March, BMW cancelled its plans to bring the car here. Executives and dealers shot down the idea in a conference earlier this year, as the car’s range is too short for American customers. At the time, Automotive News reported that those with a say in the matter expect a vehicle with at least 300 miles of range, like the Tesla Model Y. Anything short of that, they say, and the car simply won’t sell here.

Still, this is a major step for BMW on its path toward electrification. We should get the i4 sometime within the next year or so, and from there we may see another solution in the crossover market. It’s not a segment the Bavarian automaker would be wise to ignore, considering the growing list of competition.

While we wait to see what happens, check out another electrified BMW, the 330e xDrive, below: