Just a few days ago, BMW announced that it would be developing a new architecture designed to underpin the future of BMW models, called “Neue Klasse”. The name is in reference to the original Neue Klasse of BMWs back in the ’60s, which changed the brand forever. Now, the hope is that this new Neue Klasse will do the same. However, it didn’t get off to a great start, as there was a lot of confusion surrounding the purpose of the architecture.
Prior to the announcement of this second-gen Neue Klasse, BMW had said that it would be developing a single architecture that could accommodate both pure EVs and internal combustion engines alike, called the “Power of Choice”. Then we heard that the Bavarians were also working on a pure EV platform, which we though was a good idea. But then just a few days ago, BMW announced the Neue Klasse, which was aid to be electrified but also offer space for internal combustion. It all left fans scratching their heads at the seemingly contradictory announcements.
However, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse recently offered some clarification. The new Neue Klasse of vehicles will be entirely electrified but there will still be the potential for plug-in hybrids with gasoline engines. It will be set up so that the rear axle of all Neue Klasse vehicles is electric. So regardless of whether or not the car is an EV, hybrid, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive, the back axle will only be powered by an electric motor.
There will be certain vehicles that offer gasoline engines up front, likely only small turbocharged four-cylinders, to help power the front wheels, thus creating a hybrid. According to Zipse, the reason for offering hybrids is that many markets around the world lack the ability to use pure EVs. He cited the United States as one such market, where states in the middle of the country lack the charging infrastructure to accommodate pure EVs. BMW also hasn’t ruled out hydrogen fuel cell power for the Neue Klasse, either.
So BMW isn’t totally killing the internal combustion engine just yet but it is going to heavily favor EVs and the Neue Klasse architecture is going to be how it does it.
[Source: Sport Auto]