As BMW enters its next generation of EVs, it’s nodding to its illustrious past. The ‘Neue Klasse’ name was first used in the 1960s to herald a new design philosophy that gave us the BMW 2002, a car that laid the groundwork for the future successes of the German brand. Now, BMW is entering another significant phase; its next generation of dedicated EVs will begin with the Vision Neue Klass concept, unveiled today at the IAA International Motor Show in Munich.
The Vision Neue Klasse concept represents the new series of BMW EVs that will ride on dedicated electric platforms; currently, BMW’s electric vehicles ride on platforms that also support gas- and PHEV-powered vehicles. A smaller electric SUV and a 3-Series-size sedan are expected to come in 2025, with six EVs in total expected to come over the 24 months following the first launch.
The Vision Neue Klasse is a masterclass in automotive efficiency, starting with the aerodynamics. While we don’t have a coefficient of drag (Cd) number, it does sport a sleek sedan shape, with a variation of the BMW kidney grille up front, 3D front and rear lights and 21-inch aero wheels.
Underneath the concept uses BMW’s sixth-generation of eDrive powertrain, with an 800-volt architecture that promises 300 km of range with 10 minutes of fast charging – a 30 per cent improvement over the current BMW range of EVs!
The new batteries will be round, like a D cell, as opposed to the prismatic shape today. Sedans will have 95 mm-tall cells, while SUVs will have 120 mm cells. Packaging is 30 per cent more efficient, they’ll have 20 per cent more energy density, and they’ll also cost half of the current BMW batteries. Most importantly, they promise 30 per cent more range.
The efficiencies don’t stop there. BMWs next-generation motors are reportedly 40 per cent more efficient than the current units, though we don’t have power figures as of yet. The Vision Neue Klasse is also set up to take a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain, putting the hydrogen tanks where the battery would be.
The interior is austere, with BMW ditching the traditional gauge cluster in behind the steering wheel for a large, central infotainment screen and what it calls Panoramic Vision – basically, it’s a strip at the bottom of the windshield where information is projected in a 3D format. It’s like a head-up display, only all passengers can see it. The infotainment screen controls climate functions.
The Vision Neue Klasse is only a concept, but its technologies will go into the new fleet of Neue Klasse EVs coming from BMW, starting in 2025.