The 2021 BMW iX3 is not coming to the U.S. right now. A new report from Automotive News stated as much, but the news was also tucked deep within the BMW i4 Concept press release from Geneva. We got in touch with BMW representatives in the U.S. to confirm the news, and a spokesperson was able to give us the same information.
“At this time we do not have plans to bring the iX3 to the U.S. market,” a BMW spokesperson told us. “The next BMW EV to come to the U.S. market will be the iNext, which goes into production in the middle of 2021, followed by the BMW i4, which begins production towards the end of 2021.”
However, BMW is currently unable to provide any reasons as to why its new all-electric crossover won’t be launching in the U.S. at this time. That leaves us to speculate. We received the most comprehensive information about the iX3 late last year with a sizable specs dump. Some of the information was a bit head scratching, like the plan to make it rear-wheel-drive-only at launch. American buyers have come to expect all-wheel drive in crossovers, and not offering that would be a big sales inhibitor.
BMW is also facing serious regulatory pressure in Europe to cut its fleet C02 emissions, and since the iX3 is the first of the new BMW EVs, it makes sense to prioritize sales on that side of the world. This strategy is similar to Mercedes’ EQC plan — that crossover is delayed and won’t launch in the U.S. until 2021. Mercedes claims that European demand for its new electric crossover is high, but it also has to live up to the same emissions expectations as BMW does, or face hefty fines. The iX3 is also being built in China, where we expect sales to begin this year, as production is said to start sometime in 2020.
There’s also the question of the iX3’s competitiveness in the U.S. BMW fitted a 74 kWh battery pack to the electric crossover, a battery that’s smaller than both the Audi E-Tron and Jaguar I-Pace. A disappointingly low EPA-rated range number would be a serious cause for concern, and at 273 miles on the optimistic WLTP cycle, there’s a good chance the iX3 would’ve wound up with an EPA number around 200-220 miles. Keep in mind, that’s only speculation, and Audi has gone ahead with the E-Tron at an EPA-rated range of 204 miles.
Until the iNext in 2021, it’s looking like there will be no new electric BMWs. More plug-ins will likely arrive between now and then, but the electric version of the hot-selling X3 crossover isn’t on the docket.