Charging in: What to expect from BMW's new all-electric iX3

The company's latest offering is its first eDrive-powered sports activity vehicle

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BMW has released details of its first sports activity vehicle with an all-electric power system. It’s called the iX3 and it will be powered by an upgraded version of the company’s eDrive technology.

This comprises the latest motor, battery, electronics and charging tech the company has available, much of which will be spread out among the rest of its models from 2021 onwards.

Visually, the iX3 is very much a BMW (kidney grille still prominent) and not at all dissimilar to a regular X3. No surprise there, but it’s had its design tweaked to reduce wind resistance. The wheels have also been reworked and the company says it, too, will have a drag-reducing effect.

Speed-wise, you'll get from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in 6.8 seconds, with an electronically limited upper range of 180kph. The range is in the region of 460km, which should certainly get you to the mall and back a few times. You won't have to hang around for ever at the charging station, either – the iX3 will get an 80 per cent charge in 34 minutes and you can get 100km worth of power in only 10 minutes.

Mind you, we say the iX3 is all electric, but BMW is also making the first models available with petrol or diesel options, or as a hybrid. That pretty much covers all bases, then.

Rather entertainingly, you can experience a variety of sounds from the otherwise almost silent power set-up. Hit the starter and you get a composition from film score composer Hans Zimmer. What this will sound like is anyone's guess, but with any luck it'll be less grating than your average mobile phone ringtone when its owner is away from the handset.

The iX3 will have its market launch in China this year, the country where it will also be manufactured. The price has not yet been confirmed.