In a statement commenting on the half-year results of the BMW Group, CEO Oliver Zipse also talked about the future new class, the ‘Neue Klasse’. He has confirmed that the first two models to be launched are an all-electric sedan and an SUV.
So there will also be a “sporty SUV” at the launch alongside the electric sedan in the 3 Series segment. Zipse promises the first digital preview of the New Class for the IAA 2023.
There are also further statements on production: the first ‘New Class’ models will roll out the factory in 2025 in the new electric car plant in Debrecen, Hungary. Later, vehicles based on the new platform will also come off the production line at the main plant in Munich from 2026. By the end of this decade, the New Class should already account for more than half of the group’s global sales.
When talking about the all-important ‘Neue Klasse’, BMW chooses a kind of ‘salami tactic’, providing slices of news details but never the whole picture yet.
The new platform was initially announced as a ‘cluster architecture’ for all models, from the 1 Series to the 7 Series. Recently, however, Zipse has made it clear that BMW will do without internal combustion engines in the ‘New Class’ and bring exclusively electrically powered vehicles.
However, exclusively electrically driven does not have to mean exclusively battery-electric: Zipse says that in addition to the BEV orientation, “we can also imagine a hydrogen drive for this new generation of vehicles”.
“The role of hydrogen in individual mobility also needs reassessing,” Zipse continues. We believe hydrogen is the missing piece of the puzzle that can complement electromobility in places where battery-electric drivetrains cannot gain traction. So toward the end of the year, we will launch the production of a small series of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen. And we are already thinking about a possible next generation.”
At another point in his speech, Zipse assures that the company is “perfectly on track with its technologically flexible approach. Customers love our diverse portfolio. Our goal is to ensure our customers’ mobility and to be as climate-friendly as possible. We firmly believe that a mix of BEVs, fuel cells and highly efficient combustion engines is the best approach for the system at this time.”
Zipse remains cautious about the future but also confident. “No one can predict how the situation will develop in the coming months and years. But we at BMW believe in seizing opportunities wherever they arise. Our vehicle architecture’s flexibility and global production network are proving extremely valuable – as are our strong partnerships with our suppliers. As a result, we can serve diverse markets efficiently.”
And Zipse concludes: “We take the long view – and we know where we are headed. The Vision Vehicle we unveiled at IAA last year, the BMW iVision Circular, showed exactly how entrepreneurial thinking can work in a circular economy.”
“In January 2023, we will take things to the next level when we present a digital Vision Vehicle at the CES in Las Vegas, as well as our NEXTGen vision. It will showcase our digital expertise in our vehicles and as a company and partner for tech players worldwide. And, for IAA 2023, I can already promise you a glimpse of the ‘Neue Klasse’, with a spectacular digital experience for our customers.