With Its Neue Klasse Phase 3, BMW Is Planning to Win the EV Race

bmw neue klasse
Image courtesy BMW

After achieving a carbon-neutral 2021, BMW has big plans for its electric vehicles in 2022 and throughout the rest of the decade.

Luxury German automaker BMW says it saw all of its sites, production or otherwise, achieve a net-zero carbon footprint in 2021 for the first time. It was also the first time a German automotive manufacturer joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign, which was launched by the Science-Based Targets Initiative. BMW says it is committed to achieving complete climate neutrality throughout the entire value chain by 2050.

Now, BMW says it’s speeding up technological changes and “pushing forward with the transformation towards sustainable mobility.” It says it’s now preparing for a “comprehensive leap” in technology, specifically in its Neue Klasse range and e-mobility. The company says that by the end of 2025, its aim is to have more than two million fully-electric vehicles on the roads.

electric BMW
Courtesy

“We see 2021 as clear evidence that successful transformation pays off. The strong result we achieved in financial year 2021 is the outcome of our consistent strategy – with an open-technology approach and the right products at the right time,” Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We have laid the foundations to build on this success in the coming years: With the Neue Klasse, we are leading sustainable mobility into a new technological dimension. By extending the contract with our BBA joint venture until 2040, the BMW Group is also taking its growth to the next level.”

EV sales

BMW more than doubled its all-electric car sales last year and is aiming to double again for 2022. More than 13 percent of its total car sales last year were electric. In total, it sold more than 2.5 million vehicles in 2021.

But U.S. electric car manufacturer Tesla has been dominating in the space, outpacing all other electric vehicle sales and luxury car sales in America. Competitors like Audi and Mercedes-Benz have also been increasing their presence in the EV market.

It may be one of the reasons BMW is increasing its presence in newer markets, like China.

“A successful global company must be able to thoroughly understand and fulfill customers’ needs and wishes in all three main regions of the world. With our new footprint in China, we will be able to meet this requirement to the same extent in all regions,” said Zipse.

BMW ix flow
Courtesy

BMW says it will be expanding its fully-electric vehicles across China as well as launching a fully electric variant of the BMW 3 Series Long-Wheelbase Version, specifically customized to the Chinese market. That follows the announcement that it’s expanding the BMW X5 range in China and produced there locally.

Efforts to make BMW the luxury car of choice include taking account for “all aspects of holistic sustainability” including increasing the percentage of secondary materials used in its vehicles. It says its “Secondary First” approach will gradually expand on the percentage of recycled and reused materials, moving from its current 30 percent 50 percent in the Neue Klasse.

Neue Klasse

The ‘Die Neue Klasse’ platform was announced last year and is expected in 2025, as Phase 3 of BMW’s shift to electric vehicles. Its name comes from the Neue Klasse of the 1960s, which was also the beginning of a new direction for the automaker. The Neue Klasse covers new vehicles and new software architecture as well as the company’s sustainability commitments.

BMW says Neue Klasse is characterized by three key aspects: “an entirely redefined IT and software architecture, a newly-developed high-performance electric drive train and battery generation, and a new level of sustainability throughout the entire lifecycle.”

Image courtesy BMW

The company says the new dimension of “product substance” will set the standard for its digitalization and electrification. This includes the all-electric drive train in the Neue Klasse that will feature a higher range and require lower fuel consumption. BMW says it anticipates price drops for its battery cells in the Neue Klasse that will lower the cost for the e-drive. It says full details on the new battery technology will be revealed before the end of the year.

Neue Klasse is expected to speed up market penetration for e-mobility, says BMW. “For example, fully-electric vehicles could make up 50 percent of the company’s global sales earlier than 2030,” it says. That could mean more than 1.5 million units. BMW says it’s aiming to have delivered ten million fully-electric vehicles by 2030.

June will see groundbreaking for the digitalized iFactory at the plant in Debrecen, Germany. It will produce the first prototypes for the Neue Klasse, BMW says. Other factories will be modernized as part of its ongoing transformation.

“We are making good progress with the comprehensive digitalization of the company and its products, and the gradual electrification of our line-up. We are able to cover the high investments we are making out of our own resources, today and in the future,” said Nicolas Peter, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Finance. “We have the staying power and the financial strength for this far-reaching transformation.”

Scaling up

This year will see 15 fully-electric BMW models in production, the company says, which covers around 90 percent of its current segments including the i4, iX and Mini SE. Newcomers include four high-volume BMW model series including the 3 Series, 5 Series, the X1, and X3. It says the 7 Series will also see the launch of the i7.

“The BMW iX and BMW i4 are probably the best electric cars on the market currently—the test reviews and strong demand from our customers speak for themselves. This year, the BMW i7 will take things to the next level,” said Zipse.

The luxury automaker is also expecting hydrogen fuel cell technology to play an increasingly larger role in the company’s expansion. It says hydrogen could play a bigger role in the second half of the decade. This year will mark the first time BMW demos hydrogen power with a small series of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen, which it says has a one-of-a-kind drive system.

Ukraine

The BMW Group says it is also closely monitoring the current development of the situation in eastern Europe.

“As a global company, the BMW Group stands for the peaceful coexistence of different cultures all over the world—at all times and in all locations. The thoughts of our BMW Group employees are with all those who are experiencing suffering and loss in this war,” the company said.

“In the current situation, three things are paramount for the BMW Group: helping the victims and those affected wherever we can, securing our day-to-day operations worldwide and continuing to systematically implement our long-term strategy,” said Zipse.

“The major challenges we are already facing, such as the fight against climate change and the transformation towards sustainable mobility, must still be confronted with the same intensity. It is especially important in times of crisis not to stop doing the right things.”

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