BMW CEO Oliver Zipse told the audience during the company’s Q1 earnings call on May 5 that its Neue Klasse [that’s how you say “new class” in German. Catchy name, huh?] dedicated EV chassis will debut in 2025 and will form the basis of electric vehicles in the midsize premium segment.
Zipse said the platform would play “a crucial part” in the ramp-up of EV sales for the company and that “it represents a quantum leap in technology.” Neue Klasse will feature BMW’s next generation electric drivetrain “with more output, new cell chemistry and new cell formats,” he said. You may be excused if you think that sounds like sales puffery for a new breakfast cereal or laundry product. Lots of breathy verbiage, but very little substance.
One item of real substance came when Zipse said the Neue Klasse platform would support only battery-electric vehicles — no infernal combustion engines allowed. That’s quite a turnaround for Zipse, who previously said the new platform would support traditional drivetrains and plug-in hybrids, as well as all-electric power.
According to Inside EVs, Zipse told an audience at the New York auto show last month, “When you look at the technology coming out, the EV push, we must be careful because at the same time, you increase dependency on very few countries. If someone cannot buy an EV for some reason but needs a car, would you rather propose he continues to drive his old car forever? If you are not selling combustion engines anymore, someone else will.”
The platform will enter production in 2025 at BMW Group’s new factory in Debrecen, Hungary [assuming Hungary doesn’t slip further into Putin’s orbit by then], and will only offer a battery-electric drivetrain. Zipse told his audience, “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.”
Curiously, Mercedes said this month that its new midsize platforms will be primarily for electric cars, but will still have the ability to support gasoline and plug-in hybrid powertrains. The German auto industry can’t seem to make up its mind about what the future has in store.
Zipse declined to say whether the first car based on the new platform will be a sedan, SUV, or something else. The 3 Series sedan has been the company’s bread and butter model for decades and practically defines the premium midsize segment of the market.
Zipse said this week the new platform would be “mainly focused on the middle car (midsize) segment,” and “it does not cover from the lower segments all the way to the luxury segments.” However, a BMW spokesperson told Automotive News Europe the Neue Klasse platform will be gradually expanded for all-electric cars in other segments beyond midsize cars.
“The Neue Klasse starts with models from the middle car segment, but of course there is more to come. The Neue Klasse is our model range for the future — from the high-volume segment to exclusive high-performance models.” It sounds like there is some lack of clarity within the company as to what exactly its future sales strategy will be.
BMW Ramping Up e-Mobility Solutions
A report by Electrive says BMW has added a second production line at its factory in Dingolfing for its “fifth generation” current excited synchronous motors used in the iX3 and destined soon for the i4 and iX. In addition, production of a new generation of PHEV batteries has also started at that factory.
While there are concerns throughout the industry about electric cars needing fewer workers to manufacture them, the company says the number of workers at the Dingolfing plant is now 2,300, compared to 1,500 at the start of 2020. The factory now has a total of 14 production lines for battery modules, high voltage batteries, and electric drive systems.
“We are seeing high customer demand for BMW electric models worldwide,” says Markus Fallböhmer, head of engine and e-drive production at the BMW Group. “That’s why we are continuing to accelerate the ramp-up of e-mobility and are further expanding our capacities in the global production network for electric drive components. Dingolfing plays a central role in this with its e-drive production competence center.”
BMW plans to sell a total of 2 million battery-electric cars by 2025, Zipse said on the earnings call, and expects half its sales will be BEVs by 2030. He added that the company is doing everything it can to meet that goal earlier. [It might start with styling that doesn’t give young children nightmares.] They better. By 2030, we here at CleanTechinca expect the sale of gasoline and diesel cars to have collapsed, taking huge swaths of the auto industry with it.
We are either prescient or a bunch of ill informed idiots. In 8 years, we will know which is correct.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Latest CleanTechnica TV Video
CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.