Hybrids & Electrics

BMW Won’t Sell This SUV In The US: Here’s Why

It’s a bit of a mystery why BMW won’t be selling its electric version of the X3 in the US. The X3 SUV is BMW’s biggest seller in the US. It’s also a big seller for BMW elsewhere with a total sales of 325,000. An electrified version would seem to be a perfect slot to fill as the future is looking bright for all-electric SUVs. That is the iX3 but it looks like it won’t be sold here after all. What’s going on?

BMW recently told Automotive News, “At this time we do not have plans to bring the iX3 to the US market.” The only all-electric BMW is the i3 which has sold over 40,000 units since arriving in 2014. Not exactly stellar performance but it allowed BMW to get its feet wet with an EV in the US. 

With BMW racing to get into EVs why not offer this one in the US?

2021 BMW X3 | BMW-
2021 BMW X3 | BMW

With recent developments, it would seem that BMW is racing to be at the forefront of the electric vehicle wave. It currently has a number of EVs covering a wide spectrum of its models, which include the Mini brand. It was expected that deliveries would start happening in the first half of 2021. While the marriage of the X3 and electrification seems like a natural, there are reasons why BMW isn’t bringing it here.

With a 74 kWh battery pack, the iX3 won’t have a range of 300 miles. And in fact, it won’t even have a 200-mile range. Why is BMW selling an EV with so limited range? The iX3 is meant to go up against Tesla’s Model Y.

The iX3 will only come with rear-wheel-drive which limits its appeal

2021 BMW X3 | BMW-
2021 BMW X3 | BMW

It will also only be made with rear-wheel-drive. To give you a comparison the Model Y, Ford Mustang Mach-E, and Jaguar I-Pace all have a dual-motor all-wheel-drive option. Dual motors are expected in this EV SUV segment so it would be expected in a BMW iX3.

Another reason we won’t be seeing the i3X here is that BMW needs as many EVs as it can manufacture for Europe. This year marks the first year for the hardcore C02 fleet emissions fines for average emissions above a certain cap. To offset its less environmentally friendly lineup the iX3 can lower its fleet average with some decent sales. With that in mind, you know BMW will be pushing dealers to practically give them away.

There will be two other EVs that BMW plans on bringing here

2021 BMW X3 | BMW-
2021 BMW X3 | BMW

There are two other EVs that BMW plans on bringing to the US in 2021. They are the i4 and iNext. Both will have a 260-mile range which is still a much smaller number than you want to go head-to-head with Tesla. Still, this is all about filling out the segments with EVs as demand shifts in that direction.

But that could also be why BMW is apprehensive about the American market for EVs. In general, they are not especially popular right now with only a 3% portion of overall vehicle sales in the US. Everyone expects that number to rise substantially but so far that hasn’t happened.

With recent price wars raging between Saudi Arabia and Russia gas prices are dropping. As this continues the price of gas will continue to drop prompting people to buy less-fuel-consuming vehicles. Once that reverses and gas prices rise will be the day EVs will be in hot demand. Until then they’re struggling to establish themselves in the US.