BMW's first all-electric 3 Series is made just for China

The automaker even customized its suspension system for Chinese road conditions.

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Mariella Moon
March 31, 2022 7:35 AM
The BMW i3 parked on the roof level of a parking garage with high-rise buildings in the background.

BMW has developed the first fully electric 3 series vehicle — but it will only be available in China. In May 2022, the BMW i3 eDrive35L model that's based on the automaker's line of compact cars, will enter the Chinese market. It uses BMW's 5th-gen eDrive powertrain that's also found in the BMW iX3, BMW i4 and BMW iX. The four-door sedan will also be the first 3 Series car with the company's OS8 operating system and its features, including Digital Key, which turns the owner's smartphone into a key for their vehicle.

In its announcement, BMW also shared some key data about the EV, including its 281 horsepower max output and 295 pound-feet of maximum torque. It can apparently go from zero to 62 mph in 6.2 seconds, and it can reach a charge of 80 percent within 35 minutes of being plugged in. Fully charged, it has an estimated range of 327 miles, which is longer than that of the basic BMW i4's.

The automaker says the 3 Series line led the premium-compact segment in China in 2021, so releasing an electrified version in the region makes sense for the company. BMW even even fine-tuned and customized the EV's suspension system for Chinese road conditions and will assemble the vehicle at a plant in Lydia, Shenyang.

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The i3 eDrive35L EV is BMW's sixth all—electric model. Similar to rival automakers that are aiming to make a complete shift towards electric vehicles over the coming 10 to 20 years, BMW also ramped up its electrification goals last year. It announced that the last Mini with a combustion engine will be released in 2025 and that it expects its all-electric vehicles to account for 50 percent of its global sales by 2030.

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BMW's first all-electric 3 Series is made just for China