The Zinoro 1E is the electric BMW you never knew existed, but will soon be available to the public. In China. That's right, the i3 is not the only battery-powered vehicle the Bavarian company has had a hand in building recently. Its Chinese joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) revealed the compact SUV, around which it intends to build a new brand, at the recent Guangzhou International Auto Show.

Essentially an electrified BMW X1, the Zinoro (written 之诺 in Chinese and pronounced Zhi Nuo) offering is going into limited production and will only be available to to private and institutional customers through a leasing arrangement from two initial stores in Shanghai and Beijing. The idea is to use this first product as a way to introduce the premium EV concept to the market, build the brand and drive future demand.

The acceleration party, such as it is, ends completely at an 81-mph top speed.

Though its bow has been bestowed with a grill that is to become a key design element for subsequent vehicles and its stern similarly stylized, the crossover's DNA remains quite apparent both inside and out. The drivetrain, of course, is where the big changes have happened, its German gas-burning gubbins being replaced with an electron-eating propulsion system. The 125-kW (168-horsepower) motor powers the rear wheels and is said to be good for 184 pound-feet of twist – perhaps not uncoincidentally the same specs as those given for the i3. Performance-wise, that translates to 0-50 kilometers per hour (31 miles per hour) in 5.5 seconds. The acceleration party, such as it is, ends completely at a 130-kph (81-mph) top speed.

The lithium phosphate batteries in the 1E are claimed to be good for 150 kilometers (93 miles) and are distributed throughout the chassis in three climate-controlled units, helping the vehicle achieve a 50:50 weight distribution. Plugged into a 16-amp circuit (voltage in China is generally 220), it charges from empty to full in 7.5 hours.

Although our gallery consists of computer-generated images, you can see the actual car in action in the video below. You can render your own judgement (be nice, now) in the comments.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Jay Temkar
      • 1 Year Ago
      150 kph is approx 93 mph....(not 81 mph)
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      That's a cool car... dangit, China's getting the neat stuff now and we aren't :( I'd take this over the bizarrely styled i3 any day.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        I agree that i3 is bizarre, but derived from a 3800 lb. parent car, the e-X1 is bound to be much less energy efficient, no? You know better than to take styling over core design. In China, this is like a e-Lincoln Navigator. Also, X1 is no looker, either. How about a MINI roadster e- edition, with a 45kWh battery, 10 gallon gas tank and a Rex 250cc motor? That would be a car for the masses.
      Jay Temkar
      • 1 Year Ago
      Come on ....China is much crowded is very difficult to find this type of greenery and empty roads in China...the ad shoot must be done in US or Canada..