The new BMW 3 Series chassis with CLAR technology has been designed with the intention of allowing for the easy inclusion of an electric drivetrain, according to recent reports.
In addition, reports published in Auto Express seem to suggest that the company is planning to release an all-electric version of the new 3 Series — featuring a 90 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery pack — sometime around 2020.
A 90 kWh battery-pack would presumably allow for a pretty impressive single-charge range — according to the rumors, it would get 300 miles per charge (presumably on the European testing circuit, not the US EPA’s). That would make the (rumored) all-electric version of the 3 Series a direct competitor to the Tesla Model 3 — so long as BMW doesn’t jack up the price ridiculously.
If true, these rumors shouldn’t be too surprising — if BMW does lose significant 3 Series market share to Tesla, the company will be facing serious financial problems, after all.
It should be remembered, though, that even if the rumors are true, the Tesla Model 3 will beat the all-electric 3 Series to market by several years. There’s also the question of whether BMW will really build an electric car as compelling as a Tesla for the same price (for a large number of the market, not just a small percentage of buyers)
Our sister site Gas2 provides a bit of background, noting that, “the next generation 3 Series (non-electric) is expected in 2018. It will feature an all new chassis using CLAR technology, which stands for Cluster Architecture. BMW used CLAR to introduce carbon fiber structural components to the latest 7 Series sedan introduced earlier this year. The use of carbon fiber in a mass-produced car was accomplished for the first time in the BMW i3. When applied to the new 3 Series, it is expected to shave almost 200 pounds from the weight of the car. The lighter components will be found in the pillars, door frames, and transmission tunnel, says AutoExpress.”