BMW says its upcoming, dedicated electric vehicle architecture will be a “benchmark” for the industry.
In remarks reported by Automotive News, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse claims the new platform, set to launch in 2025, will be a “benchmark in terms of range, charging speed and pricing. Don’t forget pricing”.
BMW has previously confirmed Neue Klasse vehicles will use newly developed cylindrical battery cells, which remove the need for a module layer.
The company claims the cylindrical cell technology can improve energy density by more than 20 percent, charging speed by up to 30 percent and range by 30 percent compared with BMW’s current battery technology.
BMW also says the battery pack will cost up to 50 per cent less to produce than its current fifth-generation prismatic battery cells.
The packs will be supplied by Chinese battery giants CATL and EVE Energy.
The first Neue Klasse vehicle will be a 3 Series-sized vehicle, set for launch in 2025. It will be produced at BMW’s new plant in Hungary.
It’s expected to be followed by an X3-sized electric SUV.
BMW hasn’t provided any other information about its first Neue Klasse-based vehicles yet, but says more information will be revealed during 2023.
The brand hasn’t confirmed what battery chemistry Neue Klasse vehicles will use. BMW’s electric vehicles currently use lithium-ion batteries but Tesla, among other brands, have introduced lithium iron phosphate batteries that are cheaper to produce and safer but typically less energy-dense.
Zipse confirmed the upcoming Neue Klasse-based model will include features previewed on this year’s I Vision Dee concept, including an expanded heads-up display.
The Neue Klasse architecture won’t support petrol or diesel powertrains, but has been designed to support a hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain though such an option won’t be available at launch.
“It will be hydrogen ready but there is no decision at this point to put it in Neue Klasse,” Mr Zipse told Automotive News.
The I Vision Dee concept revealed at this year’s CES gives us an idea what to expect from the upcoming 3 Series-sized model on the Neue Klasse platform.
It features neat, three-box styling, while inside there’s a pared-back interior with a design intended to reduce driver distraction.
While most manufacturers are turning to infotainment screens to house climate controls and vehicle settings, Mr Zipse said he thinks big screens in cars are “a thing of the past”.
The i Vision Dee concept features a full-width heads-up display, fewer buttons and greater use of voice commands.
BMW has previously said Neue Klasse vehicles will support both level 2+ and level 3 autonomous driving technology.
The brand plans to produce a total of two million all-electric cars by 2025, with EVs to account for half of its global sales by 2030.
BMW has also set a goal of achieving full carbon neutrality across the entire supply chain by no later than 2050.