One of the world’s most famous automotive brands is preparing to unveil the prototype of a completely new all-electric, autonomous SUV concept, later this year. The newest EV, called iNEXT, is planned to launch in 2021, shortly after the i5 model. The iNEXT will be one among the fleet of 12 new, fully electric vehicles, launched by BMW, by 2025.

Triple motor with longest EV range

According to BMW’s i Product Management Head, Alexander Kotouc, clients “will see something and touch something” this year. The new all electric model will be a groundbreaking SUV, similar to an X5. It will have a completely different interior and will seat five people.

The iNEXT will be one of the first cars in BMW’s new common platform, that will allow the brand to build petrol and diesel cars, plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles. The flexible platform will have various battery sizes for all electric models, powering different ranges. Thus, the iNEXT will use batteries ranging from 60 kWh to 120 kWh, enabling a range of at least 280 up to 435.

The platform will also have several power outputs and a more compact electric motor, incorporated in 134bhp, 255bhp, 335bhp and 443bhp states of tune. A dual motor will be set at each end of the vehicle to facilitate a four-wheel drive, while a third motor would be used to enhance performance, for models developing up to 800 bhp. The iNEXT will have a larger battery pack and more powerful electric motor setup.

Really impressive design

The futuristic design of the iNEXT is in the finishing stages, with “really impressive” ideas. “It’s looking bold and people will buy it even if they don’t want an electric car because of the design”.

The iNEXT will also have autonomous features, namely Level 3 autonomous technology. Level 3 allows the vehicle to be in full control of all functions, while the driver can take over if needed.

BMW’s iNEXT will be built with the latest, cutting-edge technology from world leaders in artificial intelligence. The powerful group consisting of BMW’s newlypurchased company, Here, as well as computing giants Intel and Mobileye, will eventually develop the first fully autonomous capability.

We’re going to see what we believe to be the first full autonomous capability. We’ve assembled quite a powerful group, so putting these big companies together with this company we own is giving us a powerful move down the autonomous road.

Geneva debut

Nevertheless, the technology is not ready and robust yet. BMW’s sales and marketing head, Ian Robertson, believes that “there are a lot of people talking about autonomous driving at the moment, but the technology isn’t robust enough. It’s not good enough to say it will be better for most of the time – it needs to be better all of the time.” Future iterations of the iNEXT will lead to improvements in the autonomous features, eventually reaching Level 4 and Level 5, latest by 2030.

Additional details will be released at the forthcoming Geneva International Motor Show.

It’s looking bold and people will buy it even if they don’t want an electric car because of the design.

Snezana Sokolovska

Snezana has extensive international background and business media experience. She is covering e-mobility, autonomous vehicles and smart technology at Electric Think.

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