BMW is showing an iNEXT electric car prototype going through extreme heat tests ahead of the launch of the production version.

After launching the BMW i3, the brand’s first electric car, in 2013, we expected BMW to release the BMW i4, i5, etc., but it didn’t happen.

BMW didn’t release any new all-electric vehicles for seven years, but it is finally now preparing to, since it plans to launch three new ones in the next two years.

The BMW iX3, an all-electric SUV, is due to go on sale by the end of the year, and the BMW i4, an all-electric sedan, and the BMW iNEXT, an all-electric crossover, are being brought to market in 2021.

Those new vehicles are all based on BMW’s upcoming fifth-generation electric powertrain.

It is expected to enable a much longer range and higher performance than BMW‘s current electric vehicles.

Earlier this week, the German automaker released a teaser image of the BMW i4, its first electric car with over 300 miles of range, ahead of the launch next week.

Now the company is sharing more information about its electric car that is set to follow the i4: the BMW iNEXT.

BMW brought a few iNEXT prototypes to the desert regions of South Africa in order to test the vehicles under “extreme heat, solar radiation, and dust formation on dirt tracks.”

They shared a few pictures of the camouflaged prototype electric cars being tested:

The German automaker explains why this type of test is useful in their development process:

With high-speed operation, in stop and go traffic, extreme temperatures below and above zero, testing on ice and snow as well as desert sand and gravel, the pre-series vehicles master in a concentrated form all of the challenges an automobile may face in everyday traffic over a period of many years. In the process, experienced designers and efficient onboard measuring technology record the vehicle’s reactions to various weather and road surface conditions as well as other influences. This ensures that the characteristic BMW driving pleasure experienced in future production models is not impaired in any way by exceptional circumstances.

BMW said that the battery pack managed to stand the extreme heat test:

In temperatures that would drain any mobile phone battery in no time at all, the integrated cooling concept for the high-voltage battery, the electric motor, and the vehicle electronics of the BMW iNEXT stands the test. Moreover, the interior air conditioning, which operates by means of thermal pump technology, its control system and all further components of the vehicle electronics are subjected to the extreme conditions of the desert climate in order to prove their series maturity.

The German automaker unveiled the concept iNext vehicle in 2018.

Unfortunately, they didn’t confirm many details about the vehicle, but they have been teasing it for years and talked about its position in the market.

BMW’s head of sales and marketing, Ian Robertson, previously shared doubts about Tesla’s ability to produce Model 3 in volume at $35,000, and in the process, he said that the iNext would be the real competitor in the segment.

But the iNext is actually a crossover and not a sedan like the Model 3, which leads us to believe that BMW is talking about the price point more than the segment.

As for range, BMW didn’t go into details, but executives have previously talked about an insane 435-mile range — though they have revised it down to 360 miles last year.

Production of the series version of the BMW iNEXT is expected to start at the BMW Dingolfing plant in 2021.

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