Reducing the transportation sector’s carbon footprint is an important aspect of sustainable development, and e-mobility will be a key driver for this. The adoption of electric vehicles, however, takes time. Multiple factors are at play here, from the driver’s individual requirements to the charging infrastructure.
With differing mobility needs, there’s clearly no one-size-fits-all solution – even for a single market. In fact, BMW forecasts that various types of powertrain systems will continue to coexist on our roads for as long as the next two decades. To meet these diverse requirements, the brand is committed to offering multiple drivetrain variants for its vehicles.
The marque calls it the Power of Choice, and the best example of this for the Singapore market is the BMW X3. From 2021, the popular Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) will be available in three variants: the petrol-only version that was launched in 2018, the plug-in hybrid version introduced earlier this year, and the pure electric version which will be unveiled next year.
The BMW X3 was first introduced in 2003. Now in its third generation, the car has grown to become a key part of BMW’s line-up. Among them, the most familiar is probably the petrol version of the BMW X3. This platform starts off with an ideal 50:50 weight distribution that, together with the powerful engine and responsive transmission system, offers sharp handling and superior on-road dynamics. Even within this model line-up, a range of options are available, from sDrive (rear-wheel drive) and xDrive (all-wheel drive) systems to 4- and 6-cylinder engines. There is also the BMW X3 M Competition, with motorsports-inspired levels of performance.
For drivers who want the best of both worlds, there’s the BMW X3 xDrive30e. This SAV combines a plug-in hybrid drivetrain featuring eDrive technology with the xDrive all-wheel-drive system. In its all-electric mode, the BMW X3 xDrive30e offers a quieter, cleaner drive, and does so with a range of 51 to 55 kilometres thanks to its high-voltage lithium-ion battery. For daily transportation needs in Singapore, pure-electric operation will more than suffice. On longer journeys, the 4-cyclinder combustion engine can take over to extend the car’s range. Together, the combustion engine and electric drive don’t just offer versatility, but also an impressive combined 292 horsepower.
Finally, there’s the all-electric BMW iX3 that will be available from next year. This is the first vehicle from BMW’s range of core models to run purely on electric power, and marks the latest stage in the brand’s development of its e-mobility segment. The BMW iX3 features the brand’s newest fifth-generation eDrive technology, with innovations including optimisations to the electric motor, power electronics, charging technology, and battery, which has been built without the use of rare earth metals. Together, they deliver a maximum output of 286 horsepower, and a range of up to 460 kilometres on a single charge based on the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). Beyond just what’s under the hood, the BMW iX3 is also significant for being the first pure-electric drive vehicle from the BMW X range of SAVs, which are known for their sporty handling, rugged styling, spacious design, and luxurious comfort. With additional enhancements to areas such as its performance characteristics and operating range, the BMW iX3 is set to become a hit with drivers seeking a sporty yet luxurious all-electric drive.
Why complicate things?
The Power of Choice approach reflects BMW’s inclusive, long-term approach to mobility solutions, which promises options that cater to different customer profiles. On one hand, drivers who prefer e-mobility options will have access to them. On the other, the proverbial door remains open for those who aren’t ready to make the switch to electric vehicles yet.
By maintaining the capability to produce different drivetrains, BMW is also able to remain open and adaptable to different technologies as they develop, and thus be well-poised to offer the best mobility solutions at every stage of the industry’s evolution.
A sustainable future
The Power of Choice is part of larger efforts by the BMW Group to spur the automotive sector’s sustainable development. The Group aims to put more than seven million vehicles with electrified drive systems on the road globally by 2030, with two-thirds of them being all-electric variants. This will, in turn, reduce its vehicles’ emissions produced per kilometre driven by around 40 per cent.
Things are already well underway, with the BMW Group currently offering its electric vehicles in 74 markets worldwide. The market has responded accordingly with an increasingly rapid pace of e-mobility adoption: the Group has sold a cumulative 500,000 vehicles with electrified drive systems by 2019, and is set to double this figure in just two years by the end of 2021.
Despite COVID-19’s wide-ranging impacts globally, the BMW Group’s electrified vehicle sales for the first half of 2020 actually saw a year-on-year increase, which underscores the importance of providing e-mobility options for drivers who are ready to make the switch. BMW is, of course, doing its part by providing them with the Power of Choice.
Find out more about BMW’s range of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) here.