Update: ‘Design’ and ‘Production & Release date’ sections updated.
On 27 July 2020, BMW Group confirmed that a BMW X1 electric (codename: BMW U11) would be one of its many future BEV launches. Since then, a steady stream of reports have offered information on the BMW iX1. A report from BMWBlog then gave us in-depth details about Bavaria’s smallest electric SUV.
The BMW iX1 (codename U11) will arrive as a derivative of the third-gen BMW X1, which will celebrate its world premiere in June 2022, as per BMW Blog. Testing of the ICE variant with production body panels and the all-electric BMW iX1 had commenced in Germany and other parts of Europe in 2020, providing an insight into what to expect.
Dictated by the relationship between the Mk3 BMW X3 and the BMW iX3, we suspect a nearly identical design for the BMW X1 electric, with the most noticeable changes including elements like closed-off grilles, exclusive wheels in a fancier, more aerodynamic design, and blue accents on the bumpers, rocker panels, grille, and more aerodynamic wheels with low rolling resistance tires.
The design language should be an evolution of the present model with a sportier stance and sharper creases. However, the most distinct element is expected to be the kidney grille, which will grow and blank-out for the electric version. At the rear, the lamps would follow the ‘L’ shape, and there will be a large spoiler with a stoplight. The rear window will be of small size, and we don’t expect any major improvements in rear visibility, considering spy shots that show a more sloping roof.
Test prototypes of the BMW iX1 were spotted losing camouflage in Europe around the new year, revealing new details. In this video by CarSpyMedia, the iX1 is seen touring the streets of Munich in the vicinity of BMW Headquarters. Interestingly, BMW has been testing this model with what look like the production-spec headlights. There is the element of double C-shaped LED DRLs that is typically seen on the BMW cars. The rear features a sleek wraparound LED taillamp with an integrated roof spoiler.
Spy photographers have captured the interior of the 2022 BMW X1, helping us form an idea of what to expect from its all-electric variant. The BMW Curved Display that debuted in the BMW iX will be available in the 2022 BMW X1, and thus, maybe in the BMW iX1. A single wide panel on the dashboard, angled towards the driver, will merge the driver information display (instrument cluster) with the control display (touchscreen). In place of traditionally two AC vents in the centre console, there will likely be a single, wide AC vent.
The touchscreen and instrument cluster, both likely measuring 12.3 inches diagonally, should be part of the new-generation BMW iDrive running on the BMW Operating System 8. Expect fewer buttons and switches, with most functions executable via the touchscreen and with voice commands.
The navigation experience should be completely new, thanks to BMW Maps. The cloud-based system offers fast route calculation, and along with a Connected Parking option, more informative support for searching an empty parking space near the destination. It also gives suggestions for the route on which there is a greater chance of getting a parking spot near the destination. Connected Charging should help drivers find charging stations.
The interior should see the usage of more eco-friendly materials, a special colour combination for the upholstery and trim, and some distinctive, EV-specific functions on the electronics.
BMW iX1 variants & specifications
The BMW iX3 has a standard 74 kWh battery pack (net capacity) that allows a range of up to 460 km in the WLTP (or up 520 km in the NEDC test cycle). The BMW iX1, constrained by its smaller dimensions and possibly lower retail price, will offer a lower battery pack option.
According to BMW Blog, we can look forward to two battery packs: 38 kWh and 74 kWh in the 400V powertrain. The 38 kWh battery pack could offer a range (WLTP) of 200 km (125 miles), targeting buyers who require a car only for short commutes such as the office, school, and the grocer. This variant would greatly lower the entry barrier. The latter would provide a range (WLTP) of up to 400 km (250 miles), targeted at families who do excursions or road trips and places where the charging infrastructure doesn’t inspire confidence.
In addition, single and dual motor variants will be on offer, similar to the BMW i4 lineup. BMWBlog says that the variant line-up will include an iX1 eDrive20 with under 200 bhp and an iX1 eDrive30 with around 250 bhp. The former should be a single-motor variant FWD and the latter a twin-motor AWD variant.
If the powertrain of the iX1 is only a modified variant of the iX3, expect a DC charging power of 150 kW, enough to achieve a 100 km range (WLTP) in 10 minutes of charging. Interestingly, reports from China talk about a 70.27 kWh battery for the BMW i3 sedan, which is another unit that BMW would consider for the iX1.
An optional feature likely to be available with the BMW iX1 will be a digital key. The BMW Digital Key feature will allow users to unlock their cars using their phone’s built-in near field communication (NFC). All the user would need to do is hold the smartphone up to the door handle to unlock the car and then place it in the wireless charging tray to start. Currently, the feature is supported on the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and later phones using iOS 13.6 and above as well as the Apple Watch Series 5 and above using WatchOS 6.2.8 or later. The digital key can further be shared with up to 5 users with the capability of imposing restrictions to various car functions such as max speed, motor power and even the sound system volume.
New Voice control
With the launch of the new X3 and iX3 last year, BMW’s voice control was enhanced to be more interactive as well as execute new commands. The Intelligent Personal Assistant can now recognise where the command is coming from and through a show of graphics on the screen, lean towards either the driver or the passenger. For example, if a request is made to bring down the cabin temperature, the personal assistant can lower the temperature only on the side from where the request was made.
BMW News app
The BMW News app has also been revamped to show a more personalised feed on the bigger SUV. More major news providers have integrated into the system and improvements have been made to the audio quality while reading out the news through the speakers. Expect the iX1 to be a beneficiary of the improved software.
Production & Release date
BMW Group’s long-term goal is to achieve about ten million in cumulative EV sales by 2030, and the key launches such as the BMW iX1, BMW i7 and the BMW i5 will steer it towards the target. During the company’s Q2 2021 earnings conference call, Oliver Zipse, the Chairman of its Board of Management, said that the company plans to offer an EV option in almost every segment it is present in by 2023. Speaking further, Zipse talked about the launch timeline of the iX1.
New models will be coming in rapid succession from here on: In the next two years, we will launch all-electric versions of the BMW 7 Series, X1 and 5 Series.Oliver Zipse, Chairman of BoM, BMW Group (Q2 2021 earnings conference call) in Aug 2021
In a press release issued on 7 December, 2021, BMW Group confirmed that it will launch the X1 EV in 2022.
Over the next year, the BMW Group will expand its electrified product line-up to include fully-electric versions of the BMW 7 Series and BMW X1.BMW Group, on 7 December 2021, announcing the 1 millionth electrified vehicle delivery
As per Bimmerpost user ynguldyn, BMW (Plant Regensburg in Germany) will start manufacturing the new BMW X1 in July 2022. The electric version could enter production later this year. In November 2020, BMW announced that its Regensburg and Leipzig plants are undergoing updates to produce battery modules and high voltage batteries from this year.
BMW iX1 FAQs
What is the BMW iX1 release date?
The BMW iX1 will debut this year, and deliveries are anticipated in the UK starting first half of 2023.
What are the rivals to the BMW iX1?
What is the expected BMW iX1 price?
The BMW iX1 is expected to start (UK) from a little over 45,000 GBP.
Featured image: BMW