BMW tests electric 3 series in Europe

August 17, 2018 06:01 CET

Spy photos of BMW’s electric 3 series, referred to as a Tesla Model 3 fighter, have surfaced in Europe.

Although the vehicle looks like a conventional internal combustion engine 3 series, it has an “Electric Test Vehicle” sticker on the side and a closed-off twin kidney grille.

The range for the electric 3 series is unknown, but it should deliver 400-480 km (250 to 300 miles) on a full charge if it expects to compete with the Model 3.

European sales of the 3 series have dropped 20 percent through June this year to 57,257, according to data from JATO Dynamics.

The new 3 series, code-named G20, will ride on a variant of BMW’s flexible, lightweight CLAR cluster architecture for rear-wheel-drive vehicles. It will have a lower center of gravity and lighter curb weight.

The redesigned 3-series sedan, expected to be revealed in October at the Paris auto show, will go on sale in 2019. An M performance version likely will appear a year later.

It’s unclear when BMW will launch the full-electric variant of the 3 series, but it is part of the company’s ambitious electrification plans.

The automaker expects to roll out a dozen full-electric vehicles by the middle of the next decade. BMW will introduce the iNEXT battery-electric crossover and the i4 four-door electric coupe in 2021. A battery-electric variant of the X3 crossover will go into production in 2020.

You can reach Urvaksh Karkaria at ukarkaria@crain.com.

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