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.
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.