2022 BMW iX xDrive50: Fusing the balance between technology and sustainability

Vincent Nguyen - Mar 16, 2021, 6:01pm CDT
2022 BMW iX xDrive50: Fusing the balance between technology and sustainability

The incoming 2022 BMW iX not only arrives with the German automaker’s 5th generation eDrive technology, but it highlights BMW’s commitment to sustainable manufacturing. Strict measures for improving sustainability are at the heart of BMW’s iX electric flagship SUV. It covers all phases of production, from selecting the raw materials through manufacturing and recycling.

“Technology is driving the advances we need to tackle even the greatest challenges. This applies, in particular, to climate protection,” said Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “We are in no doubt: mobility has to be sustainable if it is to represent a truly outstanding solution.”

The 2022 BMW iX xDrive50 has two electric motors churning upwards of 500 horsepower, accelerating from zero to 60 mph in under five seconds. Those two motors offer 30-percent better power density than previous BMW electric drive units. In the 5th gen eDrive system, the electric motor, power electronics, and transmission are integrated as a single unit to reduce weight while maximizing space. Developed in-house by BMW, the electric motors have a 93-percent efficiency factor, and BMW did it without using rare earth minerals for the motor’s magnetic components.

Most electric cars have permanent magnet-based motors, and those magnets are manufactured using rare-earth minerals like dysprosium and neodymium. For BMW, this is not acceptable considering both minerals present environmental and economic concerns with their geographically-constrained supply chain.

The solution is BMW’s current-excited synchronous motor that creates a magnetic field by feeding electricity from the battery. This power unit offers peak torque from the get-go while maintaining maximum pull across a broader rev band, all without using a spec of radioactive rare-earth minerals. “For the BMW Group, premium mobility is not possible without responsibility,” added Zipse.

Meanwhile, the newest BMW iX electric SUV has a 100 kWh high-voltage lithium-ion battery packing 20-percent more energy density. As we all know, lithium-ion batteries contain cobalt and lithium, critical-classified raw materials derived from ‘questionable’ sources, for lack of a better word. For BMW, sustainability covers every production phase, including sourcing the cobalt directly before delivering the mineral to battery cell suppliers. With this method, BMW ensures “that environmentally and sustainability standards are observed during the extraction and processing of cobalt and that there are no violations of human rights,” said the carmaker. On the other hand, BMW sources lithium directly from Australia.

This holistic approach to sustainability includes the utilization of ‘secondary aluminum’ castings (a recycled form of high-grade aluminum) for 50-percent of the BMW iX’s chassis and battery casing to reduce CO2 emissions during the manufacturing stage. Inside, the new BMW iX features premium recycled materials like sustainably grown wood, natural wool fibers, olive leaf-treated leather, and carpeting made of synthetic yarn derived from discarded fishing nets. What’s more, around 20-percent of thermoplastics in the BMW iX are made of recycled plastics like the door panels, bumper guides, and cowl panel cover, comprising up to 132 pounds of recycled plastic in total. Additionally, all recycled components are meticulously tested at the BMW Group’s materials laboratory to check for potential allergenic materials.

“Rather than simply passing the buck to the supplier network, we take responsibility together with our direct suppliers,” said Dr. Andreas Wendt, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and responsible for the brand’s Purchasing and Supplier Network. “In so doing, we tap into our many years of experience and create processes for attaining greater transparency and traceability.”

Speaking of the interior, the 2022 BMW iX features the next-generation iDrive 8 infotainment system, combining a 12.3-inch high-resolution instrument display with a 14.9-inch central touchscreen in a single, curved glass panel. Like the display set-up in Kia’s EV6, the BMW iX’s infotainment cockpit is angled oh-so-slightly to the driver’s line of sight. The center console has that familiar iDrive rotary controller. It now gains a touchpad controller with active haptic buttons and rocker switches to control the audio volume, seat adjustment, and transmission mode.

BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant is at the heart of the next-gen iDrive 8. It now supports natural language interactions and gesture control to adjust vehicle settings like ambient lighting, HVAC settings, or switching between drive modes. And yes, iDrive 8 allows you to raise or lower the power windows using voice control.

BMW will begin taking pre-orders for its 2022 BMW ix this June, with the first U.S. deliveries arriving early next year. Pricing is forthcoming at the moment, but BMW claims a starting MSRP of around $83,000 to $85,000. The all-new BMW iX offers up to 300 miles of range with its 100 kWh battery pack, capable of recharging from 10 to 80-percent capacity in under 40 minutes using a 200 kW DC fast-charging station.


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