One of the main criticisms levelled at electric vehicles is their performance under less than ideal atmospheric conditions, and usually means that owners see far less range than they expect from the company’s claims.
BMW is fine-tuning its next generation of electric vehicles in extreme cold by taking them to Arjeplog, Sweden, the company’s world-renowned cold-weather test centre located about 56 km south of the Arctic Circle, as they prepare for launch in 2020 and 2021.
The BMW iX3 (due to come to market in 2020), and i4 and iNEXT (due in 2021). The vehicles are not only testing their electric components (motors, batteries and power electronics) in the icy cold, but also suspension and their control systems. The iNEXT is also testing out its autonomous driving systems.
The vehicles feature the fifth generation of BMW’s eDrive technology, which will debut in the iX3 utility vehicle, features a powerful electric motor and high-voltage storage unit with state-of-the-art cell technology to grant a claimed range of 400 km (under ideal conditions). The crossover will be produced in China.
The i4 is a compact 4-door coupe with a claimed range of over 600 km, but its more impressive claims are a zero-to-100 km sprint of 4 seconds and a top speed of 200 km/h. It is slated to go into production in Munich in 2021.
The iNEXT (we’re not sure if it will keep that name when it goes into production, since iNEXT is meant to designate the BMW technology flagship, and that will be a moving target) showcases BMW’s latest innovations in design, automation, connectivity, electrification and services (which the company shortens to D+ACES).
The mid-sized utility (similar in size to the X5) also has a claimed range of 600 km, but is primarily anticipated as the lead vehicle in BMW’s autonomous vehicle production (it will be the company’s first Level 3 automated vehicle, which means it can perform most driving tasks on its own but alerts the driver if there are tasks it can’t handle). It is scheduled to go into production in Dingolfing also in 2021.