BMW has big plans for the iNext, its innovation flagship designed to combine advanced autonomous driving, connectivity and electrification in one very future-focused package. Before it does any of that, however, the company will need to make sure the vehicle's basic architecture is up to scratch, something it is now investigating through some rigorous cold-weather test driving in Swedish Lapland.
After years of discussion around its ideas for an autonomous future BMW finally took the wraps off the iNext concept last September, revealing an electric crossover design brimming with forward-looking technologies like adaptive infotainment displays and intelligent assistants. It also publicly premiered the concept a month later at the LA Auto Show, describing it as "boutique ambience on wheels."
BMW doesn't plan to bring the iNext to market until 2021, so we'd expect both the inside and out to undergo some changes before then. The latest imagery of car, however, shows an SUV in camera camouflage livery tearing across snow and ice at BMW's winter test center in Arjeplog in Sweden.
As it goes to work in the polar circle for the first time, the company will be observing its real-world driving performance when confronted with frosty temperatures. It notes this presents a particular challenge for the vehicle's electric motor and battery, along with its heating and cooling systems.
BMW engineers will also observe how the temperatures impact the steering and braking systems, the way the energy system is recharged and how it transfers electricity to the motor, along with the performance of an all-wheel drive system built specifically for the electric drive.
BMW plans to begin producing the iNext vehicle at its Dingolfing plant in 2021. But leading up to that, it hopes to produce an all-electric Mini in 2019 and an iX3 in 2020, as part of a wider plan to have 12 all-electric vehicles in action by 2025.
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