BMW is reportedly developing an all-electric crossover aimed squarely at the upcoming Tesla Model X. According to Automotive News, the unnamed SUV has yet to be approved by BMW’s board of directors. The report, originally appearing in a German business magazine, was dismissed as “speculation” by a BMW spokesperson. That being said, BMW CEO Harald Krueger is believed to be eager to add an electric SUV to the lineup.
If the SUV is green-lit, it would be manufactured in Spartanburg, South Carolina – the same facility where BMW assembles the X3, X4, X5 and X6. The electric SUV will also be sold under BMW’s i lineup alongside the i3 electric hatchback and i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. Arndt Ellinghorst, head of global automotive research at Evercore ISI, said, “In our view an iSUV makes perfect sense for BMW. SUVs are in demand and given the market’s reaction to Tesla’s Model X so far, it seems to be a good fit for families and suburban commuters.”
As for the Model X, CEO Elon Musk shared at Tesla’s 2015 annual shareholder meeting that deliveries of the all-electric SUV will start late in the third quarter of 2015. As reported on Autoblog.com, Musk said he’s looking at the various builds of the X every week and believes that the X will be a better SUV than the S is a sedan. He said that Tesla engineers have been working to get the falcon-wing doors, the rear seats and “a few other things that people aren’t aware of” just right before building the production models.
Not to be outdone, Audi is also getting into the mix. Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler said in a speech prepared for the carmaker’s annual shareholders meeting that Audi is going to offer a sport electric SUV in 2018. The electric SUV is aimed at bolstering the Ingolstadt-based manufacturer’s appeal in markets such as the U.S. and China as it closes the gap on BMW. Audi is also seeking to keep ahead of fast-growing Mercedes-Benz.
(Photo: Tesla Model X Front View, Flickr)