The ‘New Class’, or Nueva Clase translated into Spanish, is the name chosen for the next generation of electric cars from BMW. The Bavarian firm already used that name in the 1960s and is now using it again for what they themselves consider a total reinvention of the brand. Oliver Zipse, CEO of the BMW Group, has given some new details about this new generation of electric cars and has announced which two models will premiere it.
It has long been known that the new ‘Neue Klasse’ platform would debut with a D-segment model, that is, an electric one in the BMW 3 Series and X3 category. What we did not know was what type of bodywork it would use and that question has now been resolved. The first models based on the ‘Neue Klasse’ will be a D-segment electric sedan and an electric SUV, also from the D-segment, and will hit the market in 2025. Presumably this pair of models will take the names BMW i3 and iX3.
As Oliver Zipse commented during the first half results presentation, “the Neue Klasse will further accelerate our penetration of the electric vehicle market.” The German company expects this platform to represent more than half of sales at the end of this decade. Let us remember that it is a modular platform, scalable to other segments and models, which can also be used as a base for plug-in hybrids. In Zipse’s own words, this platform can even be used for hydrogen fuel cell cars.
“The Neue Klasse is much more than a broad portfolio of new products with the characteristics of electric, digital and circular. It defines what the BMW Group will stand for in the future and will make us a completely new company. (…) In the 1960s, the company reinvented itself with the “old” Neue Klasse. In 2025 we will totally reinvent ourselves for the second time with the Neue Klasse,” said Oliver Zipse.
As we said, in addition to electric cars, this platform will allow plug-in hybrids, so the Series 3 and X3 will presumably continue to be sold with combustion engines -although they have the support of an electrical system-. In addition, the company has already said on more than one occasion that not all regions of the world are equally capable of adopting the electric vehicle, which will lead to the continued sale of versions with a combustion engine. In this sense, the next generation of the Series 3 is scheduled for 2027 (G50) and will presumably use an evolution of the CLAR platform. The same will happen with the next BMW X3 (without the i). Different technologies for different markets.
For BMW, the launch of the ‘Neue Klasse’ is a “full car reset” and its way of understanding mobility, a transformation that will encompass all areas of the company. As far as the vehicle is concerned, the Neue Klasse platform will bring with it more efficient electric drives, an 800-volt electrical system, new battery chemistries, new cell formats and, therefore, better performance in terms of energy density, autonomy and fast charging.
The software will have a more important role if possible and recycled (and recyclable) materials will have a greater role in the vehicle, including the most important for its manufacture such as steel, aluminum or plastics. In terms of design, they will have different proportions than we are used to in current BMWs, resulting in significantly more interior space and better aerodynamics.
In short, there will be a greater commitment to sustainability and the circular economy, for which they will also use new production processes. The new platform will begin manufacturing in 2025 at the Debrecen plant in Hungary. From 2026 it will also be manufactured in Munich, in the oldest and most iconic BMW factory.