When it comes to developing EV powertrains, there’s really one attribute that matters above all else — efficiency; how many miles per kWh it can muster and how it can minimize waste. With the upcoming electric BMW 3 Series, dubbed “NK1”, BMW will be debuting its sixth-generation electric powertrain, which is said to have an emphasis on efficiency.
“We’re developing electric motors that will be even more efficient yet more powerful than those we use today,” BMW head of R&D told Frank Weber recently told Autocar.
Efficiency hugely important to an EV powertrain because it can be the difference between a 100 kWh battery getting 300 and 400 miles of range. For instance, most German EVs get around three miles per kWh, which with a 100 kWh battery will net you 300-ish miles of range. Most Teslas get around four miles per kWh. With that same battery, it’d return around 400-ish miles of range. Massive difference.
According to Weber, BMW wants to increase efficiency by 20 percent over the old fifth-gen electric motors. That increase, when combined with the same 105.2 kWh battery pack should give the NK1 electric 3 Series a max range of around 435 miles. While that still isn’t as bladder-busting as the 500 miles of range from the new Lucid Air, it’s an excellent number that will keep all customers from experiencing range anxiety. However, efficiency needs to increase first.
BMW also wants to combine that new electric powertrain with 800-volt charging, like Porsche and Audi already use. That would give BMW the ability to charge at 350 kW, which is the speed at which both the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT can charge and also among the fastest in the industry. If BMW can deliver on all three claims; an efficiency of close to four miles per kWh, 435-ish miles of range, and 350 kW charging speed; the NK1 electric 3 Series could be a massive step forward for the brand.
This new NK1 3 Series is said to debut around 2025, which isn’t too far away. Hopefully, we’ll start to see some concrete evidence of this very promising NK1 3 Series quite soon.