BMW is working on its next-generation EV platform, code-named Neue Klasse, German for “New Class,” and we’ll get our first taste of what to expect next January during the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
During a conference call on Thursday outlining BMW’s third-quarter financial results, Nicolas Peter, BMW’s chief financial officer, said the automaker will unveil a “vision vehicle” related to the Neue Klasse during CES.
Vision vehicle is the term BMW uses for concept vehicles, though the concept BMW has planned for CES may not necessarily be a complete vehicle. It could possibly be just a vehicle interior concept, as Peter during the call said the concept would “underpin” the automaker’s digital expertise.
The Neue Klasse platform is being developed from the onset for electric powertrains, with an original plan to have it also support internal-combustion engines in various hybrid configurations in order to have the platform replace BMW’s current UKL and CLAR platforms, having been abandoned. The platform will be capable of supporting a hydrogen fuel cell, however.
The platform will allow engineers to vary the wheelbase length to fit a variety of body styles, and vehicles based on the platform will take on a more aerodynamic design to help maximize range. As a result, proportions will differ from the past, not only for aerodynamics but also to boost interior space. The platform will also use sixth-generation electric motor and battery technology at BMW, which promises improved power and efficiency. The battery will feature a new round cell design (instead of the current prismatic cell design), and together with other improvements should result in a range improvement of 30% over BMW’s current batteries.
The first Neue Klasse-based vehicle will be built at a plant under construction in Debrecen, Hungary, starting in 2025. Neue Klasse-based vehicles are also confirmed to be built at an existing plant in Munich, Germany, starting in 2026.
The first vehicle will be a sedan sitting in the 3-Series segment, and it will be followed by a sporty SUV, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse said in August when announcing first-half financial results.