BMW has launched its new iX range of electric cars that they say heralds a new age in mobility. The new iX xDrive40 and X xDrive50 sports activity vehicles (SAV) have a completely new design that combine modern luxury with the latest innovations in automated driving, operation, connectivity and digital services.
This is the first model based on a new, modular, scalable toolkit on which the future of the BMW Group will be built. The development and production of the BMW iX follow an all-encompassing approach to sustainability involving compliance with strict environmental and social standards in the extraction of raw materials. Plus, the use of electricity from renewable sources and a high proportion of recycled materials in the mix.
The resulting carbon footprint is stated in a validation document endorsed by independent auditors. The certificate for the BMW iX xDrive40, for instance, shows its global warming potential is around 45 percent lower than that of a SAV with a comparable diesel engine over 125,000 miles of use.
Oliver Zipse, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, said: “Technology is driving the advances we need to tackle even the greatest challenges. This applies in particular to climate protection.We are in no doubt mobility has to be sustainable if it is to represent a truly outstanding solution. For the BMW Group, premium mobility is not possible without responsibility.”
Pieter Nota, member of the board of management of BMW AG, said: “The market launch of the BMW iX will get underway at the end of this year with a two-pronged approach, in the form of the BMW iX xDrive40 and BMW iX xDrive50,”
“We have already set out the pricing. For example, the BMW iX xDrive40 will start at €77,300 (£69,000), which puts it at the level of a comparable BMW X5 with conventional combustion engine.”
BMW have a monitored raw materials production, across-the-board green power for manufacturing, high proportion of natural and recycled materials. It procures the cobalt and lithium required for the high-voltage batteries from controlled sources in Australia and Morocco, before supplying them to the battery cell manufacturers. As in the production of the overall vehicle at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing, the battery cells are manufactured using exclusively green power from certified sources.
Since February 2021 the company has bought in aluminium manufactured using electricity from solar energy plants. The importance placed on conserving resources in the production of the BMW iX is highlighted by the high proportion of secondary aluminium and recycled plastic used. The car’s interior features FSC-certified wood, leather tanned with olive leaf extracts and other natural materials. Among the raw materials used for the floor coverings and mats are recovered fishing nets.
The electric motors for the BMW iX use a design that enables the use of rare earths to be avoided. 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 removes the need for the critical materials used to manufacture magnets.
This special design also has a positive effect on the motors’ performance characteristics. The precisely controlled excitation of the rotor using electric power enables peak torque to be on tap in full immediately on pulling away.
Unlike with electric motors of conventional design, this torque is maintained over an extremely broad rev band. This means the iX’s power is not only fast but consistent, for a sporty drive.
In the BMW iX xDrive50, it has front and rear wheel axle drive systems that produce a total output of over 370 kW (500 horsepower), delivering an impressive acceleration of 0-60mph (00100kph) in under 5 seconds. The smaller motor BMW iX xDrive40 with an output of more than 240kW (300 horsepower) remains nippy accelerating from 0-60mph (00100kph) in just over 6 seconds.
The batteries in the models are location low down in the vehicle floor as an integral component of the body. The gravimetric energy density of the lithium-ion batteries has been increased by around 20 percent again over the previous-generation battery.
The iX xDrive50 is fitted with a 100kWh battery while the iX xDrive40 will have a 70kWh battery. This give them a range in excess of 373 miles (600km) and 249 miles (401km) respectively.
The new charging technology of the iX models enables DC (direct current) fast charging. The iX xDrive50 can replenish its high-voltage battery at up to 200 kW, while the maximum charging capacity of the iX xDrive40 is 150 kW. This means in just 10 minutes they can add 75 miles (121km) and 56 miles (90km) of range respectively. In both model the high-voltage battery’s charge can be increased up to 80 percent of its full capacity in under 40 minutes.
The car is currently in the final phase of its series development. At market launch will get underway at the end of 2021.