Specifically, what is the new BMW electric generation like? What is the technological level reached by the zero emission production of the Bavarian giant? Questions that arise spontaneously when faced with BMW iX, a model that actually evolves the company’s development towards e-mobility that began in 2013 with i3.
There is a lot of curiosity, also because it comes from a basic condition. Unlike other big players, BMW does not focus its industrial and commercial repositioning strategies exclusively on the electric car, but aims to offer, in its lineup, 100% electric models alongside plug-in hybrid vehicles, full -hybrid and combustion. At this juncture, however, the spotlight is on the new medium-high range SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle), officially unveiled at the beginning of June 2021 and which the general public was able to observe live at the MiMo-Milan Monza Motor Show 2021.
The Main Features
- 20” alloy wheels;
- Full Led and Welcome Light optical groups (on request: Laserlight technology lighting system);
- Rear-view mirrors with electric opening, closing and heating;
- Electronically controlled self-leveling air suspension;
- Directional rear axle;
- Seat upholstery in Sensatec;
- Ambient lighting;
- Multi-adjustable electric and heated front seats (memory function for the driver’s seat);
- Rear seats with split backrest in a 40:20:40 pattern;
- Front central armrest;
- Charging cable 5 m long, Mode 3, up to 22 kW;
- Bmw single-phase Type 2-Mode 2 charging cable, 5 m in length, for connecting the vehicle to public columns and BMW Charging cards;
- Electrically operated height and depth adjustable steering column;
- Power steering with variable assistance;
- Rain sensor and light sensor;
- Heatable washer nozzles;
- Electric control for opening and closing the hatch;
- Abs with Bas, Cbc, Dsc and Dtc;
- Driving Assistant system;
- Cruise control;
- Downhill driving assistance;
- Hill start assistance;
- Energy Brake Regeneration device for the recovery of kinetic energy in the braking phases;
- Passive protection device for pedestrians;
- Four-zone automatic air conditioning with micro-filter;
- Digital and multimedia module Bmw Live Cockpit Professional;
- Digital instrumentation with 12.3 ”color screen;
- Two front and two rear USB-C sockets.
Eco friendly production
Electricity is one of the assets of the BMW iX, but it is not the only one: the new zero-emission SUV plays a fundamental role in the green and responsible “new deal” adopted by the Group. The supply of cobalt and lithium, that is, the raw materials necessary for high-voltage accumulators, comes from controlled sources in Australia and Morocco. The technological approach to the development of electric motors, for its part, makes it possible to avoid the use of rare earths in the transmission system. More: aluminum is produced through the use of energy from solar power plants, and high percentages of secondary aluminum and reused plastic contribute to an efficient use of production resources for Bmw iX: for the interiors, the wood finishes are certified. FSC, the tanned leather presents extracts of olive leaves and other materials of natural origin. Recycled fishing nets are also part of the materials used for floor and carpet coverings.
The production process itself is under the banner of sustainability, that is, the maximum reduction of CO2 emissions and the consumption of resources along the entire value chain (from the supply chain to logistics, to the assembly phases). Independent auditors, BMW points out, have found that the greenhouse gas potential emitted by the BMW iX xDrive 40 is, overall, about 45% lower than that of an SUV (or rather SAV-Sports Activity Vehicle) of the same segment and equipped with internal combustion engine. The Dingolfing plant is therefore able to achieve a recycling rate of over 90% and an even higher recoverability rate (over 99%). The wells of the plant meet more than 40% of its water needs, thus allowing it to conserve the region’s drinking water reserves. In fact, the BMW Group has already reduced its water consumption by more than 30% since 2006.
Between 2006 and 2020, BMW Group managed to reduce the consumption of resources per vehicle produced by more than half between 2006 and 2020. Carbon dioxide emissions recorded an even more significant decrease: up to 78% in less. The 2030 goal is to reduce the amount of CO2 per vehicle by a further 80%. The BMW iX contributes to this goal thanks to the use, for the production phases, of regional green energy coming directly from two hydroelectric plants located on the Isar and Lech rivers.
Car body analysis
The starting point is an evolved version of the CLAR-CLuster ARchitecture platform, with spaceframe body in aluminum and Carbon Cage cell in CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) for the roof, the side elements and the rear area. With regard to the exterior, the BMW iX is undoubtedly personal. Tastes, it is clear, are subjective: however, several peculiarities should be noted which, on the one hand, bring the new zero emission proposal closer to the most recent Bavarian range, and on the other, highlight new features.
The front, for example, is dominated by an extra large double kidney (a style inherited from the top-of-the-range lineup and from the new high-wheeled BMW models, and this is not a new gen detail. how much already in the 30s and up to the beginning of the 50s the grille split vertically and which divided the vehicle shield in two was already used by the Bavarian brand).
The grille is obviously blind, and hides the sensors of the driving aid devices (a resistor, among other things, allows the grille to be heated during the winter season, so as to always allow the correct operation of the electronic eyes). Note its construction in a self-repairing plastic material: that is, if it is scratched, the double grille repairs itself once placed under a heat source (between 19° and 25°).
The headlights are full Led or, optionally, Laserlight technology. They are very thin, and a fairing in the lower area of the vehicle contributes to aerodynamics, thus optimizing the performance on the road as a function of energy consumption and overall range.
The overall dimensions are certainly not minimal (BMW iX is close to 5 m in length and 2 m in width, almost one meter and 70 in height and has 3 m of wheelbase), however adequate for the segment to which the vehicle belongs, and the ground clearance is high (over 20 cm, to the advantage of versatility of use).
The detail of exterior dimensions are length: 4.95 m with Width: 1.97m (excluding rear-view mirrors), 2.23m (with rear-view mirrors). The Height is 1.69 m with Wheelbase 3,000 mm, Ground clearance: 202 mm, Turning circle: 12.8 m, Wheels with 20″ to 22″ rims (standard, on both versions, 20″ rims with 235/60 R 20 tires) and the weights: 2,365 kg-2,510 kg.
Interior: multimedia finishes and equipment
Inside, the BMW iX highlights a decidedly clean image, due to the absence of many physical controls and the space allowed by the use of the CLAR platform. The cockpit environment is dominated by the BMW Live Cockpit Professional, a module consisting of digital instrumentation, with a 12.3″ color screen, and a 14.9″ horizontal display, curved and positioned towards the driver. The connectivity technology is based on the new BMW Operating System 8 operating system: it is therefore of the latest generation.
New features include the updated My Modes that allow a wider range of selectable vehicle settings, in order to offer a complete driving experience; remote upgrade packages (Remote Software Upgrades) with the possibility of purchasing the desired vehicle functions, through the virtual Bmw ConnectedDrive Store, also at a later time through the on-demand functions that can be installed over-the-air; the navigation system that uses the cloud-based BMW Maps platform; augmented reality video display in the control display; and the use of 5G mobile technology to transmit data and interact with a personal mobile account through the integrated eSIM.
Engine: Propulsion Technology
There are two electric engines, one located at the front and the other acting on the rear. The power supply uses a lithium-ion battery pack placed inside the CLAR modular platform (according to an almost universal layout among the new generation electric cars), which together with the study of a kinematic chain that brings together engine, electronics of support and transmission in a single housing is to the full advantage of the interior habitability as well as the stability of the vehicle (a peculiarity to which the adaptive suspension with electronically controlled pneumatic suspensions contributes).
Three Levels of Recovery
Performance optimization (in particular energy consumption and operating range) makes use of a device for recovering kinetic energy from the braking phases, also electronically managed, which takes into account driving and road conditions thanks to the data analyzed by the navigation system and the sensors of the active driving assistance systems.
Range and Prices
In the commercial launch phase, the BMW iX is divided into two versions, both equipped with two electric motors (all-wheel drive), Bmw iX xDrive 40 (326 hp) and BMW iX xDrive 50 (523 hp). Available in two packages, Standard and Sports package (3,100 euros surcharge). The following are the sales amounts: Bmw iX xDrive 40: 84.000 euro; Bmw iX xDrive 40 Pacchetto Sportivo: 87.100 euro; Bmw iX xDrive 50: 103.000 euro; Bmw iX xDrive 50 Pacchetto Sportivo: 106.100 euro.
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