BMW iX3 concept unveiled at Beijing Motor Show

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BMW has traveled to the biennial Beijing auto show to introduce a concept vehicle named iX3. The thinly-veiled concept is offering up a preview of the brand's first electric SUV, which will be imported to Europe and the USA from China. It will go into production in 2020 and will be built in China.

The move marks a few firsts for BMW.

The iX3 is set to compete against the Jaguar i-Pace, Audi e-tron and first Mercedes EQ models, as well as the Tesla Model X.

This modular, "plug-and-play" electric drive setup theoretically makes it easier to expand the electric offering to other BMW models, and BMW says that the iX3's electric motor doesn't need any "rare Earth" metals, which makes its construction a little more eco-friendly, not to mention ethics-friendly. In an effort to reduce development costs, the iX3 will be heavily based on the regular X3 SUV, something that's readily obvious with the iX3 Concept's design.

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There has been no push to create a radical design, though - a decision which distances the iX3 and its future stablemates from BMW's less traditional i3 and i8 models. Now only the X1 plug-in hybrid is built in China. The future series-production version of the electrically powered SAV will therefore also benefit from the technological basis underpinning the powertrain of the BMW iNext, due to be presented in 2021.

Overall, BMW gas committed to launching 12 all-electric vehicles by 2025.

Lighter alloy wheels feature, and help to aid efficiency, resulting in the iX3 having an electric range of 249 miles - a mile more than Audi's new e-tron electric SUV. Meanwhile, BMW has also promised a non-SUV i4 model for the same year - it's rumoured to take design cues from the Vision Dynamics concept that was shown at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. BMW predicts a 150-kilowatt quick charger can top up the battery pack in 30 minutes.

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