Electric Vehciles

iX3 is BMW's first electric SUV, but it won't be coming to the U.S. thanks to the feds

BMW's new SUV is fuel-efficient, but that's not a good enough reason to bring it to the U.S.

Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW has debuted its first all-electric SUV, touting its emissions-free powertrain, "sporting ability", and comfortable interior. But, the model won't be arriving on U.S. shores anytime soon. Instead, the model will be for consumption in Europe and China. Why? It comes down to government.

BMW calls it their "Power of Choice" approach. Others may call it the "throw noodles against the wall" approach to an ever-evolving powertrain scene. This is the same business model that is causing BMW to make a hydrogen-powered X5 available for sale in Europe.

2021 BMW iX3 The BMW iX3 is a compact SUV. Photo by Fabian Kirchbauer Photography, courtesy of BMW

In Europe and China, emissions regulations have been tightened as governments respond to the pressure of the perceived threat of climate change at an increasing rate. Much of the concentration in these regulations deals with tailpipe emissions, which is a cause of air pollution, but doesn't focus energy on the way power is supplied to the powertrain, whether from coal-fired power station or a battery that is made from materials that destroy large swaths of the earth.

In a release about the iX3, BMW shared that, "BMW Group monitors compliance with environmental and social standards as part of its procurement process for the lithium and cobalt used in battery cells."

It is because of these emissions regulations that more automakers have begun investing in electrified powertrains, whether plug-in hybrid (PHEV), battery electric (BEV/EV), or hydrogen fuel cell (FCEV). For some, like Hyundai with hydrogen, the investment in the technology is decades old. Others, like Volkswagen Group, have built their entire future on it. Many automaker executives acknowledge that battery electric vehicles are only a stepping stone until hydrogen takes over as the fuel of choice. Still, FCEVs have batteries.

2021 BMW iX3 The car is proportionally the same as the traditional X3. Photo by Fabian Kirchbauer Photography, courtesy of BMW

In the U.S., emissions regulations are not as strict, despite moves by California in a self-perceived effort to lead the way, with many states not yet clamping down on emissions regulations.

It is for that reason in addition to low demand and because more often than not the profit margins on PHEVs and EVs are slim (add in the cost of shipping, dealer training, and equipment for repairs and the MSRP would have to skyrocket to make up for the extra expense), that BMW will not be selling the iX3 in America - at least not right now.

The 2021 BMW iX3 will be powered by BMW's fifth-generation eDrive technology. It has an 80 kilowatt-hour battery that will allow for a 285-mile range (WLTP). The model's eDrive electric motor sends power to the rear wheels and produces 286 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The SUV can move from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 112 mph.

2021 BMW iX3 Blue accents denote the model's EV standing.Photo courtesy of BMW

Drivers are able to choose the level of regeneration the model utilizes. It can be enough to allow for near one-pedal driving or minimally invasive.

To support the company's EV offerings, the BMW Connected Charging app delivers enhanced navigation with built-in charging options. Recharging from zero to 80 percent of the battery's capability happens in just 34 minutes. A 10-minute charge adds 62 miles of range.

The model's body design and interior proportions remain much the same in the iX3 as it does throughout the X3 lineup. Buyers can customize their iX3 ownership experience by ticking the box of one or more of the many options BMW offers including metallic paint, automatic lift gate, a panoramic sunroof, and sport seats.

There are blue accents on the exterior and interior of the model denoting its electric vehicle status within the BMW lineup.

2021 BMW iX3 The SUV seats five.Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW estimates that the iX3 will have 30 percent less of an environmental impact over its lifespan than the diesel-powered version of the X3. When it is charged exclusively using green energy, that number jumps to 60 percent.

The 2021 BMW iX3 will be the first model to be produced for explore at BMW's Shenyang manufacturing facility in China. It is expected to be on sale later this year.

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Electric vehicles

Three new EVs we can't wait to see

The F-150 Lightning is just one of several new EVs we'll see soon.

Ford

With all the crazy news coming out of the auto industry this year, it'd be easy to believe that the rollout of new models is slowing to a snail's pace. The pandemic and ongoing microchip shortage have slowed vehicle production, to be sure, but they haven't put the brakes on automakers' push to roll out exciting new electric vehicles. In the next few months alone, we'll see several new electric trucks, cars, and SUVs hit the market, some of which will break new ground and help define their segments. We're on board with this trend 100 percent, and to help you get excited, we've rounded up a few of our favorites.

Here are the three upcoming electric vehicles we're most excited to see.

Ford F-150 Lightning

One of the world's best-selling and most popular vehicles is going electric. The Ford F-150 Lightning is set to arrive in 2022 with a fully electric powertrain, forward-looking technology, and a familiar style that will make any truck lover feel at home. We don't have full details on the truck, but Ford has shared some awe-inspiring performance numbers. The Lightning will offer around 563 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque, which should push the truck to 60 mph from a standstill in just four seconds. Payload capacity comes in at up to 2,000 pounds, and towing will reach 10,000 pounds for specific configurations.


Ford F-150 Lightning The Lightning will offer impressive capability in a familiar package.Ford


The Lightning's starting price will come in under $40,000, but don't get your hopes up about actually buying one for that amount. Ford says the entry-level Lightning is a commercial truck that will be a stripped-down work-ready vehicle, which likely means features like vinyl seats and far fewer of the desirable tech goodies that you'll want. To get the truck you and your family will want to drive, you'll need to spring for the XLT model, which starts just shy of $53,000. That's quite a bit more, but it is still a somewhat reasonable price to pay for what will surely be a capable electric pickup.

Mercedes-Benz EQS

The S-Class is a unique model in Mercedes-Benz's lineup. The car typically showcases the automaker's latest technologies and design techniques and offers a glimpse of the features that eventually trickle down to the rest of Mercedes' vehicles. Soon, we'll see the EQS, a fully electric flagship sedan that paves the way for the brand's other electrified offerings. The car will have a range of well over 400 miles on a charge, up to 516 horsepower, rear-axle steering, and breathtaking technology.


Mercedes-Benz EQS The EQS will usher in a new electric era at Mercedes.Mercedes-Benz


The EQS is expected to land sometime late in 2021 and will carry a price tag that matches its premium brand name and top-notch feature set. Pricing for the "entry-level" EQS 450+ will come in at around $100,000, while the top EQS 580 4MATIC will land well north of that number. Remember, though, that Mercedes offers a long list of ultra-desirable options for its cars, so you'll likely shell out more than the base price to get the features you want.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

The Hyundai Ioniq name is nothing new, but the way it will be seen in the automaker's lineup will change significantly going forward. Rather than being a model name within the Hyundai catalog, Ioniq will split off and become its own sub-brand, covering a line of electric vehicles of all types. The Ioniq 5 is the first such vehicle and will be offered in single- or dual-motor configurations that generate 225 or 320 horsepower. The car's futuristic design is attractive and features a pixelated look for the front-end, lighting features, and rear. Inside, the vehicle is clean but comforting and offers the features buyers expect in a family crossover.


Hyundai Ioniq 5 The Ioniq 5 is the first in what will be an entire line of new EVs from Hyundai.Hyundai


The Ioniq 5 should go on sale in late 2021 and is expected to cost between $40,000 and $50,000.

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A long roof with a V8. What could be better?

Bring a Trailer

Spend enough time reading car reviews, and you'll probably notice a trend among writers. We all love wagons, despite the fact that almost nobody in the United States buys them anymore. If there's a wagon that could appeal to almost anyone, however, it's this m2003 BMW 540i M Sport with a very special engine swap. It's up for auction right now and could be yours – or mine.

It doesn't get much better for a car nerd than this. The 2003 540i Sport Wagon has had its engine swapped for an S62 4.9-liter V8 and a six-speed manual transmission. For those of you not obsessed with E39 generation 5-Series cars, that's the engine from the M5 of the time. Here, it sounds every bit as raw and powerful as it does in the car it originally came from, and the six-speed manual gearbox makes this an enthusiast's dream.


2003 BMW 540i M Sport Wagon The car has been upgraded with all the right M5 components.Bring a Trailer


Inside, the black leather appears to be in great shape, considering the car's advanced age and mileage, though this wagon is lacking the in-dash navigation system that the M5 carried at the time. It's probably for the best, given that an 18-year-old computer would feel absolutely ancient compared to even the cheapest infotainment system today.

This auction is a little more than halfway through and the current bit is just over $20,000. There's quite a bit of time left for that to climb substantially, but at even twice the price it'd hard to feel cheated if you won.


2003 BMW 540i M Sport Wagon There's no navigation here, but 20 years haven't been kind to the M5's system, anyway.Bring a Trailer

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