BMW is beginning pre-production of the iX3 electric SUV, its first next-generation EV, and sharing the first few first official pictures of the production version.

When unveiling the BMW iX3 concept vehicle in 2018, the German automaker said that it’s going to be the first electric vehicle based on its fifth-generation electric powertrain technology, which is designed to enable longer electric range.

BMW has been talking about a 74kWh battery pack, which the automaker claims is going to enable 440 km of range.

They’re talking about a WLTP test cycle, which is often difficult to achieve in real-world conditions for most people. A real-world range of ~360 km (~230 miles) on a single charge is more likely.

The German automaker also disclosed 210 kW/286 hp as the power of the BMW iX3’s electric drivetrain.

We had a pretty good idea of what the electric SUV looks like from the concept and some marketing images that leaked, but the automaker is now releasing the first official production pictures:

The pictures were released as part of an announcement of pre-production at BMW’s Chinese plant:

The BMW Group is systematically pursuing its electrification strategy and will release the new BMW iX3 onto the market by the end of 2020. Standard production of the BMW core brand’s first pure electric model will get under way at the BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture (BBA) in China in late summer as planned: BBA Plant Dadong will produce the first Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) with a pure electric drive train for the global market. The first of these electric vehicles will be delivered to customers by the end of the year.

The BMW iX3 is going to be produced in China and exported to Europe.

Earlier this year, BMW cancels its plan to launch the iX3 electric SUV in the US.

The German automaker’s dealers reportedly didn’t think they could sell the electric vehicle due to its range.

Robert Küssel, BBA Plant Director Dadong, commented on the start of pre-production:

We are right on schedule with our BMW iX3 pre-production vehicles and will launch standard production in late summer, using state-of-the-art technologies such as custom installation of the new high-voltage battery and artificial intelligence for monitoring parts. We are also producing the fully electric BMW iX3 and the BMW X3 with combustion engine on the same production line. This enables us to achieve high efficiency and flexibility in production.

They already produced 200 vehicles that will be tested leading to the full launch of production in the coming months and deliveries later this year.

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