BMW iX1 electric SUV spotted testing

BMW's next electric SUV has been spotted testing in Munich; it'll slot into the range below the iX3

BMW iX1 Spy Shot

BMW's newest electric car, the iX1, has been spied testing in Munich. The iX1 will be an electric version of strong-selling X1 SUV and is part of new electric BMWs on the way soon. alongside zero-emissions variants of the 5 Series and 7 Series saloons. 

Smaller than the recently released BMW iX3, it's likely to have a smaller battery and therefore a shorter range as well. The iX1 is expected to sit on the second generation of BMW's 'FAAR' chassis, which is being designed to suit internal-combustion, hybrid and electric powertrains. 

Although the iX1 was spotted wearing heavy camouflage, it will likely take its styling cues from its bigger brother, including the electric X3’s blue accents and aerodynamic alloy wheels. Like the iX3, we can expect a small compromise when it comes to the iX1’s boot space and practicality.

Wieland Bruch, a spokesman for the iX3 project when it was still in development, told DrivingElectric that BMW believed in offering its customers the “Power of Choice” – insisting it would continue to sell multiple powertrain options across its expanding SUV range.

Speaking exclusively to DrivingElectric at the time, Bruch said the team could "well imagine X1 to be fully electrified". BMW later issued an official statement announcing a battery-electric X1. The release said “comprehensive electrification will be rolled out throughout the model line-up.

“Further examples of the “Power of Choice” will be the high-volume BMW X1 and BMW 5 Series," it said. "[X1 and 5 Series] will also be available in the future with all four drivetrain variants – fully electric, plug-in hybrid, diesel and petrol with [mild-hybrid] technology.”

When challenged as to whether or not electrifying a larger, heavier model like the BMW X5 might have a greater impact on reducing overall emissions, Bruch said: “You can make a calculation; what is the global CO2 impact? You will always come to the conclusion that the total amount per model line is higher when you electrify another good-selling model series, compared with something like X5 or X6.

“For sure, per single car, the impact would be higher when you electrify [X5/X6], but we always look at the overall sales per model line,” Bruch said. “This is also how the lawmakers look at it.”

By electrifying models like the iX1, BMW would, in effect, have all the necessary parts to make an iX2 electric SUV. Other models on the same platform include the 1 Series hatchback, the 2 Series Active Tourer and Gran Tourer MPVs, the MINI Clubman and the MINI Countryman. The iX1 will eventually join the iX3, as well as the forthcoming i4 and iX, both due by the end of 2021.

It’s not clear when the iX1 will launch, but rumours are BMW will unveil the car in late 2021 or early 2022, after the launch of the next-generation X1. The iX1 is expected to compete with the Tesla Model Y and Ford Mustang Mach-E, a starting price of just under £50,000 is likely.