BMW has been aggressively publicising its upcoming iNext electric car for a few years now. It says the next-generation EV will compete against Tesla’s Model 3. The German firm teased the concept through a few sketches on its blog ahead of this month’s unveiling.

The BMW iNext has been under development ever since the company floated its i Division in 2011. Although the separate division has been pretty successful when it comes to sales of its two current models, i.e. the i3 and i8, BMW is still being roundly criticized owing to the fact that the two cars are hybrids and not proper electric cars. To that end, the German automaker had unveiled the iX3 concept at the Beijing Auto Show.

However, previewing a concept car and announcing its production are two different things, with the iX3 scheduled for production in 2020 which is still at least two years away. Which leaves us with the other product BMW has been working on; the iNext electric car. Very little is actually known about this car, other than the fact that it will be based on the recent Vision NEXT concepts unveiled by the company at different events. Additionally, the EV will also feature some autonomous driving capabilities. If we are to believe BMW’s claims about rivaling the Model 3, then it can be inferred that the iNext will be a midsize sedan, about the size of a conventional 3-series. In fact, BMW has been so aggressive with pushing the iNext that Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales and marketing, cast doubts over Tesla’s claims of producing the Model 3 at $35,000, saying the iNext would be a real competitor in the segment.

BMW released a set of photos teasing the concept iNext EV’s design, also announcing the five-city promotional run while doing so.

BMW is planning a grand unveiling of the concept iNext, which began with the design sketches it revealed last week. The BMW iNext concept will be flown in a Lufthansa Cargo Fleet Boeing 777F that will commence its journey from Munich on September 9. The first stop is New York in the United States, after which the concept will be flown to San Francisco, thence flying on to Beijing. The flight will finally stop at Frankfurt on September 14, a week ahead of the Frankfurt International Motor Show.

BMW is certainly leaving no stones unturned to promote its new EV concept. But it begs the question as to why the company would arrange for so much publicity over a concept that will only enter production in 2020 at the earliest. In fact, BMW has two other electric cars, one being the iX3, that will enter production before the iNext, but the German firm is actively portraying the iNext as the central product to its electrification plans.