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

FILE PHOTO: The BMW logo is seen on a steering wheel during the media day of the 41st Bangkok International Motor Show after the Thai government eased measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bangkok, Thailand July 14, 2020. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

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