BMW tests electric 3 series

The 3-series EV is based on the redesigned sedan expected to be unveiled this fall at the Paris auto show. Photo credit: CHRIS DOANE AUTOMOTIVE

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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 250 to 300 miles on a full charge if it expects to compete with the Model 3.

U.S. sales of the 3 series have dropped 14 percent through July this year, slipping behind those of BMW’s X3 crossover.

The 2019 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 the U.S. in the first quarter of 2019. An M performance version likely will appear in the second half of 2019.

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.

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