BMW iX xDrive50 brings sustainability to the forefront of vehicle productionMarch 17, 2021
BMW is taking a more protracted approach to the introduction of its iX electric crossover than we’re used to. We found out what it would look like way back in , we saw it and now, thanks to an announcement made by BMW on Tuesday, we know a little bit more about what’s going on under the hood and how it’s going to be built.
Specifically, BMW’s fifth-generation eDrive technology will produce around 500 horsepower from a dual-motor setup. As configured in the iX xDrive50, the drivetrain should be good for around 300 miles of range, based on BMW’s estimates. Not bad, but not groundbreaking either, especially considering that the iX isn’t slated to hit dealers until early next year and the EV range arms race is still heating up. We also know that BMW expects the iX xDrive50 to retail somewhere in the mid-$80,000 range, which would put it in contention with Tesla’s Model S and Porsche’s Taycan — two tough competitors.
Perhaps more important than the iX’s performance facts and figures or even its price is the way that BMW is going to build the thing with an eye focused heavily on sustainability. BMW will start this process off by using clean energy sources to power the factories that produce the iX and its battery pack. This, in combination with using a greater percentage of recycled materials (BMW claims that each iX will use 132 pounds of recycled plastic in total), should add up to an 18% reduction in carbon emissions, according to BMW.
It doesn’t stop there, though. BMW is reevaluating the way it buys materials and components for the iX so that its purchasing is done with a focus on human rights, respect for environmental standards and carbon output reduction. BMW is also considering the impact the iX will have at the end of its service life by ensuring as much of the vehicle as possible is recyclable.
BMW is also getting deep into materials testing — but not just for strength or durability. It’s also looking at the health and safety impact its materials choices will have on buyers. An example is trying to keep commonly allergenic materials like nickel isolated from drivers and passengers.
This kind of profound reevaluation of how it goes about building cars is rare for a company of BMW’s size, but the effect it could have on the automotive industry at large is enormous. The real test will be if BMW can implement these changes at similar costs to more traditional methods and if the vehicles’ materials pass customer scrutiny.
Preorders for the BMW iX xDrive50 are expected to open in June.