BMW will enter its next phase of electric vehicles (EV) development with a new dedicated platform, dubbed Neue Klasse. The EV architecture is currently under development, and is expected to go into production in 2025 with the next-generation BMW 3 Series – and yes, it will be fully electric.
Speaking during the company’s first-quarter earnings call on Thursday, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse said that the new platform will initially focus on models in the mid-size premium segment. “When it hits the market, it will be concentrated on the 3 Series segment and at that point, in time the market will have developed into a size where it is reasonable to have only one drivetrain in that architecture,” said Zipse.
Unlike the China-only i3, which is essentially the G20 BMW 3 Series transplanted with an electric powertrain, the Neue Klasse platform underpinning the next-generation fully-electric 3 Series EV is designed exclusively for pure electric powertrains only – not even hybrid power.
Zipse claims that the Neue Klasse architecture will represent a “quantum leap in technology”, with electric powertrains that offer “more output, new cell chemistry and new cell formats”. With a new dedicated EV platform, it’s also safe to expect a larger battery pack in the fully-electric next-generation 3 Series, instead of the relatively small 66.1 kWh unit that’s shoehorned into the Chinese-market BMW i3.
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Following the initial launch with the midsized cars, BMW is also planning to expand the scope of the Neue Klasse architecture for use in the other market segments. Citing a source from BMW, Automotive News Europe reports that there will be a full range of fully-electric models based on the architecture, ranging “from the high-volume segment to exclusive high-performance models”.
The publication adds that the strategy shift to use the platform on only mid-sized models for the time being will allow BMW to keep its combustion engines for longer on larger models.
The Neue Klasse EV architecture will play a major role in BMW’s plans to hit cumulative sales of two million EVs by 2025, on its way to a target of having half of its sales being fully-electric models by 2030. “We are doing everything we can to meet this goal earlier,” said Zipse.