BMW Takes Its BEV Powertrain Off-Road

BMW takes its BEV powertrain to the SUV market with the introduction of its iX3 compact crossover.

The car built at the German automaker’s Shenyang plant in China, will be launched in some worldwide markets later this year and is the first model built at the factory under the joint venture, BMW Brilliance Automotive. It features BMW’s fifth generation eDrive technology whose components, developed in-house, will also be fitted in the BMW iNext and BMW i4 models from 2021.

At its powertrain’s heart is an integrated drive system with the electric motor, transmission and power electronics are now arranged together in a single housing. The electric motor in the new BMW iX3 works according to the principle of a current-excited synchronous motor, without the use of magnets. This design eliminates the use of rare earth materials of the motor albeit its battery pack is still lithium-ion.

The power density of the electric motor in the iX3 claims to be 30% greater than that of existing fully-electric vehicles within the automaker’s portfolio. It also claims to be up to 93% efficient, compared with under 40% for combustion engines. The new rear wheel drive system unit generates maximum output of 282bhp and peak torque of 295ft-lbs which, unlike with many other electric motors, is sustained at high revs.

It claims a 0-62mph sprint time of 6.8 seconds, putting it in the same territory as the conventionally powered BMW X3 xDrive30i. Top speed is electronically limited to 112 mph.

The battery pack’s storage capacity of the battery has been increased boasting a gravimetric energy density of the 188 prismatic cells is around 20% higher than that of the battery cells used by the automaker up to now. A gross energy content of 80 kWh, of which 74 kWh is used, and the high efficiency of the drive systems to allows the iX3 to claim a range of up to 285 miles on the WLTP test cycle.

Another technical highlight making its debut is the new charging unit, which sends power to both the 400V battery and the 12V on-board power supply. When charging using alternating current, it enables both single-phase and three-phase charging at up to 11 kW. Plugging the vehicle into a direct current rapid-charging station opens the door to charging outputs of up to 150 kW, meaning the high-voltage battery can be charged from 0% to 80% of its full capacity in 34 minutes. Drivers can inject the power required to add 62 miles to the car’s driving range in just 10 minutes.

Model-specific design features enhanses the car’s aerodynamic properties to aid range with the grille have a largely enclosed design, while the rear end has also been sculpted with a view to reducing air resistance.

The aerodynamic wheels making their debut on the new BMW iX3 reduce its drag coefficient by around 5% over an equivalent vehicle with conventional light-alloy wheels. This is achieved with the help of inserts in the V-spoke base wheel whose surfaces keep the air flowing smoothly. This combines with aerodynamic enhancements to the underbody’s rear diffuser and chassis strut area, as well as with the air flap control system, to give the all-electric SAV a drag coefficient of 0.29.



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