BMW unveils electric SUV to challenge Tesla, plans U.S. launch in early 2022

FILE PHOTO: Bangkok International Motor Show

By Joseph White

DETROIT (Reuters) – German luxury automaker BMW AG <BMWG.DE> unveiled on Wednesday an electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) called the BMW iX, planned to go on sale in the United States in early 2022 to compete with Tesla Inc <TSLA.O> and other rivals.

BMW said the iX should have a driving range of 300 miles (480 km). That’s less than the estimated driving range of the Tesla Model X Long Range, which is rated at 371 miles in the United States. BMW said drivers would be able to add 75 miles of range in ten minutes at a fast-charging station.

BMW said the iX would be comparable in size to the current BMW X5 SUV. The dashboard will be a sweeping, curved screen.

The electric iX will enter a fast-growing field of battery-powered SUVs aimed at affluent customers.

Tesla’s Model X already has competition from Chinese startup Nio <NIO.N>, and General Motors Co’s <GM.N> Cadillac brand recently unveiled a mid-size electric SUV called the Lyriq, expected to launch in 2022. Daimler AG’s <DAIGn.DE> Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen AG <VOWG_p.DE> have electric premium models in the works.

Ford Motor Co’s <F.N> Mustang Mach-E is aiming for a slice of the performance enthusiast market that BMW defined decades ago. Ford said on Monday it intended to add a second model built on the foundations of the Mach-E.

(Reporting by Joe White; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Mark Potter)