BMW plans at least six model launches within 24 months for the ‘New Class’ electric cars from 2025 onward. To this end, additional plants are to be converted for the production of these electric cars. More concrete information on the platform and the first models will be available in September.
Electric cars based on the new vehicle architecture, which BMW clearly describes as “BEV-only” in its current announcement, will be produced at the new plant in Debrecen, Hungary, from the second half of the year 2025, and also at the main plant in Munich from 2026 and at the Mexican plant in San Luis Potosi from 2027. BMW plans to announce further production locations for the New Class shortly.
The New Class will start in the high-volume core of the BMW brand with a so-called ‘Sports Activity Vehicle’ (SAV) and a sedan in the current 3 Series segment. In the first 24 months, the production of at least four more models of the New Class is also planned.
At the moment, BMW is not giving any further details about the New Class. So it remains with the known information that it is an 800-volt platform with round battery cells and current-excited synchronous motors. In the announcement, BMW promises, among other things, a completely newly developed electrical system with a fundamentally new UX/UI concept and a newly developed drive and battery generation with significant development in efficiency. At the IAA Mobility 2023 in Munich, BMW plans to present further steps and new details on the way to the New Class.
The electric vehicle models to be launched in the following years will not yet be based on the purely electric New Class but on the familiar multi-energy platforms. The upcoming electric i5, for example, is an electric sedan coming to the upper mid-size class, followed by an electric estate in spring 2024. The new 5 Series is also set to make it to market for the first time as an “all-electric BMW M Performance automobile”. The new iX1 will also be joined by an iX2.
“Substance is convincing — and this is where our models speak for themselves,” said BMW Group CEO Oliver Zipse. “That is why we are striving for further significant growth in fully-electric vehicles this year and expect them to account for 15% of our total sales.” By January 2023, BMW has already achieved a BEV share of that 15%, according to the statement.
“We have clearly defined the following milestones for our BEV ramp-up: a fifth of overall sales in 2024, a quarter in 2025, and a third in 2026,” Zipse continued. “With this momentum, more than half the vehicles we sell worldwide will be all-electric before 2030. It goes without saying that the percentage in Europe will already be well over 50% by then. If individual markets or regions demand 100% e-mobility at a certain point in time – we will be ready and able to deliver.”
Although the Munich-based carmaker emphasizes in the press release for the annual press conference that it expects “dynamic BEV growth in the coming years”, the Board of Management does not want to commit itself to battery-electric drives only.
BMW sees the hydrogen fuel cell as an additional drive option and the possibility for a potential series offering in the second half of the decade, “depending on market requirements and general conditions”, it says. BMW put a demonstration fleet of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen on the road in February, starting in Antwerp.
And Oliver Zipse added: “We are pressing ahead with our BEV ramp-up. At the same time, we remain true to our broad technological approach. Why? Because we don’t want to miss out on any market potential. This is the only way to contribute to climate protection in all markets effectively. It is also the only way we can continue to take different customer needs in the regions and markets into account.”
BMW seems also to be joining German Transport Minister Volker Wissing in his protests against the planned ICE ban in Europe by 2035. According to BMW, e-fuels can still play a role in certain parts of the world or for certain customers. Additionally, the carmaker sees those e-fuels as a means of achieving climate goals faster by using them in the immense existing ICE car park that will still be on the road till 2050 or beyond.
“Proven strengths, future-oriented technologies, and the New Class, that is our recipe for success in the coming years,” Zipse concludes. “With this combination, we are in the right position to be able to respond precisely to different developments in the various regions of the world”.