BMW reveals prototype iNext electric SUV in winter testing


After revealing the concept-car at a private event last September, BMW has revealed the, well, next iNext.

Following the concept, the next version of the car is a test mule, complete with camouflage covering, undergoing cold-weather testing in northern Sweden—a typical place for automakers to test things like heaters, cold starts, and power delivery.

READ THIS: BMW Vision iNext electric concept redefines German luxury flagship

In an electric car, range can also be a critical factor in sub-zero weather.

The concept Vision iNext that BMW showed in New York was a radically angular SUV; sort of a muscled-up, heavyweight i3 in a mid-phase digital transition to a Toyota FJ Cruiser.

BMW Vision iNext concept

BMW Vision iNext concept

Intended as the first showcase for BMW's self-driving technology, the interior of this not-Ultimate Driving Machine, is designed to be "your new favorite place to be," with nubbly turquoise-and-beige Jacquard fabric appearing half worn like an old Persian rug.

MUST READ: Supplier tests compact 100-kwh battery pack in BMW i3

The latest prototype looks to abandon most of that vibe in favor of a sleek geometric design about the size of an X5 that's a little low for an SUV, presumably for better aerodynamics and improved range.

The production iNext is expected to follow more conventional BMW naming conventions with a small "i" for electric, a big "X" for SUV and single numeric digit to denote the size, like the smaller upcoming iX3 electric version of the X3. Think iX5 or iX6 (maybe even iX7.) 

READ MORE: BMW readies battery factory for wave of coming electric vehicles

Whatever it's eventually called, the production version of the iNext is expected to be the third new all-electric BMW since the company revamped its electric-car strategy to base upcoming electrics on its platforms for conventional cars, unlike the custom-tailored carbon-fiber i3. It will follow the 2020 iX3 and an electric sedan targeting the Tesla Model 3 and based on the Vision Dynamics concept. Observers expect that car could be called the i4.

BMW i Vision Dynamics concept, 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show

BMW i Vision Dynamics concept, 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show

When it arrives around 2022, the production iNext will be the first BMW to use the company's fifth generation battery design, which will almost certainly pack more energy into a smaller space. BMW is targeting 120 kilowatt-hours with more than 400 miles of range. A BMW supplier previewed the new pack architecture in a tiny i3 with 100-kwh battery on board.

CHECK OUT: BMW sets up end-to-end battery recycling in Europe

BMW recently announced that it will expand its car factory in Dingolfing to include production of the fifth-generation batteries for its electric cars. The company is also working on developing an end-to-end battery recycling program that would use materials recycled from old BMW electric-car batteries to build its new ones.

 
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