China is now the largest market for electric vehicles and automakers are updating their product line-up as quickly as they can, even as far as fitting an EV powertrain into an existing engine-only model such as the Mazda CX-30 EV.
BMW in China is using all the resources it can to compete with the locally-made Tesla Model 3. However, the BMW i4 isn’t coming any sooner, so the Munich-based company has “re-created” the BMW i3, based on the current G20 BMW 3 Series sedan.
While many of us are familiar with the BMW i3 compact hatchback being the company’s first mass-produced EV, consumers in China do not have that issue as the model is not offered there. Thus, the BMW i3 sedan based on the current G20 3 Series is born.
In the posting by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, People’s Republic of China, the BMW i3 sedan will have up to 340 hp (250 kW) and be designated with the ‘35L’ variant badging, with the L denoting long wheelbase, as seen on the BMW 330 Li that was introduced in Malaysia in April this year.
This eDrive powertrain looks to be the same as the one found on the upcoming BMW i4 eDrive40, with the rear-mounted motor delivering 340 hp and 430 Nm of torque. An 80.7 kWh (nett) battery pack allows a driving range of up to 590 km.
The Ministry also listed the BMW i3 35L to be marginally lighter than the i4 at 2,029 kg, which could translate to a slightly better range and 0 to 100 km/h sprint time of 5.7 seconds. Top speed is also listed at 180 km/h for the upcoming BMW i3 35L made exclusively for China.
As for the exterior differences, the front and rear bumpers of the BMW i3 35L seen in this example follows the design from the i4 while keeping its regular-sized kidney grilles. A possibility of only two variants is on offer, as the grille, rim design and blue highlights are used as identifiers.
Globally, BMW Group (includes MINI and Rolls-Royce) plans to release a total of about ten million fully electric vehicles onto the roads over the next ten years or so, with at least one in two vehicles sold to be fully electric. Next year, the EV versions of the BMW 7 Series and BMW X1 will be made available, while the high-volume BMW 5 Series will be added to the electric portfolio in 2023.
In Malaysia, the new EV offense has begun via the soft-introduction of the BMW iX and the BMW iX3 EV models. The brand is also a leader of PHEV models in Malaysia, offering plug-in hybrid models for the 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, X5 SAV plus the fully electric i3s.