BMW has started production of the iX3 electric SUV, the German automaker’s first vehicle with its next-generation electric powertrain.

The BMW iX3 electric SUV is important for several reasons.

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.

The next-generation EV is also the first fully electric vehicle launched by BMW since the i3 back in 2013.

Interestingly, BMW also plans to produce the vehicle in China and export it to other markets — something very few automakers are doing — though we are starting to see a trend on that front with electric vehicle makers, like Polestar.

Now BMW has announced that its joint-venture in China, BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA), has started production of the BMW iX3 electric SUV.

Franz Decker, head of BBA’s Technology and Production division, said during the event celebrating the start of production:

“Today, we begin production of the BMW iX3, the first pure electric model from our core BMW brand. With a production system like this, specialised for high quality, we are able to deliver what customers worldwide demand from premium vehicles.”

They released some footage of the production in their Chinese factory:

During the launch earlier this summer, BMW confirmed the specs of the iX3. The BMW iX3’s 80-kilowatt-hour battery pack — 74 kWh of which is useable — offers a range of 460 kilometers (286 miles) using the generous WLTP testing numbers. That likely translates to around 200 miles in real-world driving.

Here are a few pictures of the production version of the electric SUV:

The electric vehicle is expected to hit Europe and China in the coming weeks, but BMW canceled 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.

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