BMW will form the basis of all vehicles sold with the automaker’s name brand with a new electricity-based architecture to be introduced in 2025.
The New Class platform (Neue Klasse in German) is designed to be fully electric but will also be the basis for cars with gasoline and diesel internal combustion engines, including plug-in hybrids .
The architecture offers rear-wheel drive as usual, with the option to add a front-wheel drive for the entire wheelbarrow.
Over time, the New Class will replace BMW’s two standard architectures:
- The small UKL platform used for BMW and Mini compact cars. It will take fwd and awd cars. UKL was launched in 2014 on the Mini hatchback.
- The larger CLAR platform, with rwd and awd, used for the rest of the BMW range. It was launched in 2015 with the 7-Series sedan.
The UKL and CLAR architects were originally developed for combustion engines, incorporating plug-in hybrid cars. They have undergone a major refurbishment with a new floor in the middle to hold long-battery electric cars and plug-in hybrids.
For CLAR, last year’s update came with the introduction of the iX3 midsize full-electric SUV. The midsize i4 electric sedan and iX flagship electric SUV, both this year, will use this platform. Fully electronic versions of Series 5 and Series 7 will continue in the next few years.
This updated CLAR also allows plug-in hybrid models to have larger batteries, allowing the cars to travel for longer distances on electric power alone.
The architecture of the New Class will be a key pillar in BMW’s plan to have fully electric models account for at least 50 percent of global deliveries by 2030, with their entire model suite offering a choice battery power only.
Even before the introduction of the New Class architecture in 2025, BMW said the custom architecture allowed the company to sell at least one fully electronic model in 90 percent of the segments. their current market by 2023.
BMW has learned a lot about how to scale architecture since the launch of the first generation of 3 Series Compact architecture, which was introduced in 2004 to shorten the basics of a 3 Series sedan, the head of technology said Frank Weber to reporters at a roundtable in the media on March 17.
“We are able to scale it by size from the 2-Series coupe up to X7 with the existing one (CLAR),” he said.
BMW uses the same construction principles as the New Class architecture, which will serve “BMW’s entire product portfolio,” Weber said.
The architecture’s aerodynamic design targets electric vehicles with different proportions than before, including a wider interior, BMW said. It will also have a new high voltage battery concept with developed cell design. An electric propulsion based on a hydrogen fuel cell is also an option.
The first digital approach
The platform will also have “technology stacks” that can be adapted for different segments, allowing the vehicle’s operating system to be designed to meet the different requirements and digital ecosystems in each major market in the world. the world. The stacks also allow continuous updating to ensure that the operating system keeps up to date.
The first digital approach attached to the architecture will allow customers to retain and configure features throughout the lifecycle of their vehicle. This will generate a significant portion of the company’s future revenue, BMW said.
BMW has not announced which smaller car will form the basis of a New Class. The next 1-Series may change to this new rwd / awd architecture. The current generation has no rwd.
The Series 1 is based on the longer UKL-2 architecture which is also the basis for Series 2 models except the Coupe and Grand Coupe. The UK-2 is also the basis for the X1 and X2 compact SUVs, and the Mini Clubman and Countryman.
Mini Route in China
Weber said that in the future Minis will use an architecture designed with electromobility at its core and co-developed by Chinese joint venture partner, Great Wall Motor.