‘Neue Klasse’ models will usher in radical new design cues, modular powertrains and a connectivity-focused architecture.
The BMW Group will enter the ‘third phase’ of its transition to electrification from 2025, by which point it plans to have sold two million pure EVs to customers worldwide.
Termed ‘Neue Klasse’ (New Class) in reference to the hugely popular BMW saloons and coupés that were sold in the 1960s and 1970s, this third stage will see the brand usher in a new generation of electric powertrains, adopt a “radically new” approach to sustainability and introduce a new software platform.
The first stage in BMW’s transformation process began with the launch of its ‘Project i’ programme, under which it launched its first electrified models and explored new avenues in software and “digital interaction with the vehicle”. The second phase introduced the ‘Power of Choice’ strategy whereby all BMW models are available wih a variety of powertrains ranging from combustion, to hybrid, to pure EV.
And now, in this third stage, BMW will develop and offer a “completely novel user experience never before seen in series production vehicles”. It will be centred around a new approach to vehicle platforms that will usher in ‘regionalisable technology stacks’, which will allow each vehicle’s operating system to be customised according to the region in which it will be sold.
BMW will also introduce a new ‘digital first’ approach which will offer individually configurable upgrades and new features throughout the vehicle’s lifecycle for “an increasing proportion of revenues”.
Neue Klasse models will be drastically different in their design to BMW’s current cars, with “proportions that differ from the past” and an emphasis on providing more interior space.
“The BMW Group is never satisfied with what it has achieved so far – that’s what sets it apart from the rest of the field. This spirit will characterise the Neue Klasse: high tech on four wheels for customers intent on experiencing in just five years’ time how mobility will feel in 2030,” said CEO Oliver Zipse.
By 2023, the firm will have 12 pure EVs on sale worldwide, offering at least one electric car in 90% of its current market segments.
Sustainability will play a key role in the brand’s revamped model strategy. Neue Klasse models will be built using a “sharply increased” proportion of recycled materials, using them wherever quality and availability allows. To avoid material mixing during the vehicle recycling process, the firm will also increase its use of ‘monomaterials’ – which will ensure a higher proportion of the vehicle’s make-up can enter the recycling loop.
A concept previewing this new approach to vehicle production will be shown at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2021.
By 2030, BMW plans to reduce CO2 emissions per kilometre by 40% for each of its models, in line with which it will overhaul its component supply chain to offset the environmental impact of electric vehicle battery production.