The electric version of BMW's iconic 3 Series sedan has been caught testing in Europe.
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A fully-electric BMW 3 Series has been spied testing in Europe, with the model expected to join the electrified 4 Series from 2021.

Curiously, the camouflaged test vehicle uses the long-wheel-base (LWB) body. The stretched version has only been available in China up until recently, with a right-hand-drive LWB 3 Series being announced for India in June 2020 to replace the axed 3 Series GT.

What remains a mystery at this stage is what the new electric 3 Series will be named.

The German car maker currently uses the 'e' identifier for its hybrid models (like the BMW 330e), and has introduced the 'i' ahead of model names to denote an electric version – such as the BMW iX3 SUV.

While the electric variant of the 4 Series will be named i4, the i3 badge is currently attached to the company's small electric hatchback, which is expected to remain in production until 2024.

BMW faced similar headaches when it first released the performance version of its 1 Series in late 2010. As the M1 badge was used on the brand's wedge-shaped supercar of the 1980s, the model was officially given the title of the BMW 1 Series M Coupe – commonly referred to as the 1M.

The electric 3 Series will form part of BMW's plan to introduce 25 fully-electric models by 2023, as well as setting ambitious CO2 targets for the entire car company to meet by 2030.

While it's too early to know whether the electric 3 Series will make its way to Australia, lax new-car regulations have meant low- and zero-emission models are being prioritised for European markets by manufacturers.

However, speaking to CarAdvice regarding the brand's electric future recently, a spokesperson for BMW Australia said, "We aim to give customers the opportunity to purchase a particular model with either a petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid or full electric drive system".