It was way back in 2018 when we first saw a glimpse of the BMW iX3. First revealed in concept form, the all-electric vehicle is the company's vision for a zero-emissions, premium compact crossover. It features similar styling to that of the X3 (save for some design tweaks) and has a smoother design overall that complements the vehicle's greener credentials.

Fast forward to 2020, and BMW is preparing to start production of the iX3 in China. With the company looking to have the iX3 out into the market by the end of 2020, the BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) Dadong plant is already busy making the final arrangements before full-blown production can begin. In fact, BMW claims that the homologation process of the iX3 for China and Europe has just been completed.

BMW starting production of iX3 all-electric crossover image

To do that, more than 340 hours of testing, including 770 km of test drives, had to be completed within four weeks. Arno Keller, head of development for the BMW iX3, said that this is the first time that the entire homologation process for an electric vehicle in China and Europe has been completed at the same time. Keller cited that this was done thanks to the dedication and efficiency of the testing team being able to finish it in a short amount of time.

Aside from completing homologation tests, the BBA factory has been busy building pre-production models of the iX3 since the middle of last year. The 200th model recently came off the production line and test drives on public roads began – allowing engineers to make final adjustments.

“We are right on schedule with our BMW iX3 pre-production vehicles and will launch standard production in late summer, using state-of-the-art technologies such as the custom installation of the new high-voltage battery and artificial intelligence for monitoring parts. We are also producing the fully-electric BMW iX3 and the BMW X3 with a combustion engine on the same production line. This enables us to achieve high efficiency and flexibility in production,” said Robert Kussel, BBA Plant Director.

BMW starting production of iX3 all-electric crossover image

As for the iX3's looks, we have yet to fully see what it looks like due to the camo livery hiding key sections of the crossover. But looking at the original concept, and it's quite clear that it has similar styling to the X3. But one distinct design that makes this electric crossover different from the X3 is its front grille design. Instead of having the traditional dual kidney look, it gets a slightly different design which appears to have been inspired by Kia's tiger-nose grille.

With a claimed 440-kilometer range from its eDrive Technology, BMW believes the iX3 will pave the way for the brand's upcoming i4 and iNEXT electric models from 2021 and beyond.