BMW iX1 electric SUV in the works

BMW is planning to expand its electric SUV range after launching the iX3.

The BMW X1 will be the next of the German maker’s SUVs to go electric, according to the team behind the recently revealed iX3.

Speaking exclusively to Automotive Daily’s partner DrivingElectric following the launch of its latest electric SUV, Wieland Bruch, spokesman for the BMW iX3 project, said the brand believed in offering its customers the “power of choice” – insisting it would continue to sell multiple powertrain options across its expanding SUV range.

When asked whether the next step for BMW’s electric offensive might result in a larger or smaller model than the Audi e-tron-rivalling iX3, Bruch said the team could “well imagine X1 to be fully electrified.

“Maybe that gives an indication of where the focus might go to smaller fully-electric X models rather than bigger ones,” he said – suggesting an entry-level model is in the pipeline.

Thought to follow the iX3’s nomenclature by using the BMW iX1 badge, the brand’s smallest SUV would likely offer a slightly smaller battery and thus a shorter electric range. It’d take its styling cues from its bigger brother, including the electric X3’s blue accents and aerodynamic alloy wheels. Like the iX3, we can expect a small compromise when it comes to the iX1’s boot space and practicality.

The iX1 is expected to sit on an adapted version of the existing X1’s mechanical platform. While this doesn’t currently form the basis of any pure-electric model, it shares much with the underpinnings of the MINI Electric.

When challenged as to whether or not electrifying a larger, heavier model like the BMW X5 might have a greater impact on reducing overall emissions, Bruch said: “You can make a calculation; what is the global CO2 impact? You will always come to the conclusion that the total amount per model line is higher when you electrify another good-selling model series, compared with something like X5 or X6.

“For sure, per single car, the impact would be higher when you electrify [X5/X6], but we always look at the overall sales per model line,” Bruch said. “This is also how the lawmakers look at it.”

By electrifying models like the iX1, BMW would, in effect, have all the necessary parts to make an iX2 electric SUV. Other models on the same platform include the 1 Series hatchback, the 2 Series Active Tourer and Gran Tourer MPVs, the MINI Clubman and the MINI Countryman. The iX1 will eventually join the iX3, as well as the forthcoming i4 and iNEXT models, both due in the next 12-18 months.

It’s not clear when the iX1 would launch, but given the car has just been given a mid-life facelift – with the inclusion of a plug-in hybrid version – we expect BMW would wait until the all-new X1 arrives around 2023 before revealing an electric variant.

Richard Ingram

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