The iX is being launched as German automakers scramble to catch up with Tesla’s EV lead.
It will go into production seven years after BMW began making the i3 hatchback.
At that time, Tesla was just getting the Model S off the ground, and Volkswagen was still marketing millions of illegal engines as “clean” diesels.
The tables have turned since then. Tesla has run away with EV leadership, and VW has emerged from an emissions scandal with plans to become the global leader in EV sales with models based on its MEB platform.
BMW has been less committed to battery-only models, instead introducing an array of plug-in hybrids.
The perception that BMW missed the boat with regard to EVs has been costly. Its shares are down more than 40 percent from their peak in 2015, valuing the company at about 45 billion euros ($53 billion). At $389 billion, Tesla’s market capitalization is more than seven times richer.