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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The Continental GT Mulliner is Bentley's newest high-end offering.

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors
The Continental GT Mulliner has been added to the Bentley stable joining other models that represent the finest the super-luxury brand has to offer. The Mulliner brand offers buyers a wider variety of customization than the traditional Bentley lineup of vehicles.

The new model features a 'Double Diamond' matrix grille at the front, complimented by matching front fender vents at the sides that feature black and silver design with chromed Mulliner branding. Satin Silver mirror caps with Mulliner Welcome Lamps beneath, and illuminated outer door sills with Mulliner text take residence on the side of the vehicle.

Bentley Continental GT Mulliner 

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Bentley has given the model 22-inch Mulliner wheels with a painted and polished finish. The centre badge of each wheel is self-leveling, keeping its Bentley logo upright at all times.

The cabin of the Continental GT is already plush but the Mulliner brand touch takes the level of sophistication and refinement up a notch. The color split in the cabin is exclusive to the car, with a new combination of primary and secondary hide joined by a third color through a flowing design line.

Mulliner proposes eight different three-color combinations for order, using Bentley's palette of hides and threads to create a contrast throughout the cabin. "Diamond in Diamond" quilting to the seats, doors trims, and rear quarter panels are standard. The quilting consists of nearly 400,000 stitches with each diamond containing 712 stitches.

Each seat in the car is finished with an embroidered Mulliner logo. The floor mats are edged with micro-piping to match the rest of the color theme of the interior. The roof of the cabin is trimmed along its full length with indented hide, or smooth hide to match the seat backs if a buyer chooses the fixed glass roof instead.

The center console is made of a diamond milled technical finish that is flanked by Grand Black walnut veneer and chrome overlays. At the center is a Breitling clock. The passenger side fascia is finished with a silhouette of the car's exterior profile and the Mulliner logo.

The interior appointments can be personalized further with a range of 88 contemporary, colorized veneer finishes that can be matched to the interior or exterior of the car. Burr walnut veneer is hand sanded and polished to produce a perfectly smooth finish before painting to match the colour of the customer's choice. Once dry, the veneer is polished to achieve a mirror-like finish.

Buyers are able to choose whether their Bentley model is powered by a 6.0-liter W12 engine or a 4.0-liter V8. The 12-cylinder gets 626 brake horsepower and the V8 achieves 542 brake horsepower. Both engines come standard with 48-volt active anti-roll technology.

Orders for both coupe and convertible versions of the Continental GT Mulliner will be taken starting in October. The first deliveries begin early next year.

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The new RM20e Racing Midship Sports Car showcases the future of the Hyundai brand.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai debuted the RM20e Racing Midship Sports Car this week, showcasing what isn't the beginning but what is very much the future of what the Hyundai brand will offer. The electric-based high-performance race car, like those designed by other manufacturers is a proving ground for technologies that may be employed in Hyundai passenger vehicles in the future.

Hyundai has been quite open about this calling the platform the RM20e is based on, the RM development platform, will be used for future N brand products that are inspired by the car. This follows as part of the progressive evolution of the car with previous iterations bearing the names RM14, RM15, RM16 and RM19.

RM20e Racing Midship Sports Car

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai's first electric race car was developed for the eTCR electric touring car series in 2019 - the Veloster N eTCR.

"Our new electrified RM20e pushes the proven RM platform forcefully into a new, environmentally-focused decade of the 21st century, stretching the performance envelope of electrification on normal road environments," said Albert Biermann, President and Head of Research and Development Division at Hyundai Motor Group. "RM20e represents a revolutionary new chapter of electrified performance for the Racing Midship series, and our N engineers continue to garner valuable insights in the arena of zero-emission performance dynamics."

The mid-engined, rear-wheel drive RM20e features a powertrain that achieves 810 horsepower and 708 pound-feet of torque thanks to its electric motor. It can get from zero to 62 mph in less than three seconds and to 124 mph from a standstill in 9.88 seconds.

Hyundai says that the RM20e combines "race car-like levels of performance, balance, braking, and grip while retaining daily-driver quietness, responsiveness and road-going capability".

The propulsion system driving the car, as well as the equipment that helps it achieve the "race car-like levels of performance, balance, braking, and grip" are part of Hyundai's larger plant to develop hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery, and fuel cell electric vehicles.

Hyundai isn't working alone. The company has formed a strategic partnership with Rimac Automobili to co-develop battery and fuel cell electric vehicle prototypes.

Additionally, Hyundai Motor Group, the parent company of the Hyundai, Genesis, Kia, and new Ioniq brand, has committed to addinng 44 "eco-friendly" models by 2025.

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