On Wednesday at the Auto China 2018 show in Beijing, BMW gave the world a preview of its newest electric vehicle. It's called the iX3, and it will be the first long-range battery EV from the German automaker. Based on the current X3 crossover, the iX3 will ditch that car's internal combustion engines for a 200kW (270hp) electric motor-generator unit (MGU), coupled to a 70kWh lithium-ion battery. That should be sufficient for a range of 250 miles (400km) according to BMW, although that's according to the WLTP cycle; the EPA testing cycle is closer to real-world performance and is therefore more conservative. Additionally, it will be able to charge at 150kW.
There are a number of notable things about the iX3. First, it will use the fifth-generation of BMW's eDrive powertrain, which now groups the MGU, the transmission, and the control electronics into a single unit. What's more, BMW says that the MGU does not use any rare Earth elements in its production, presumably indicating it's an induction and not brushless design. The availability of these minerals is of increasing concern to automakers given China's control of these resources, and in the past couple of years we've seen both Honda and Toyota develop MGUs with a reduced need for some rare Earth elements. Tesla has also been using rare Earth-free AC-induction MGUs in the Model S and Model X EVs, but that company has switched to a brushless design for the Model 3.
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