There’s a lot riding on the success of BMW’s future Neue Klasse platform. Announced last year, the new architecture developed by the Munich-based car maker is supposed to take the company into the electrified era over the next decade. That’s not an easy thing to do, especially since the brand is planning to use it for all of its future models, from the 1 Series to the X7. That’s a really wide spectrum but it shows just how determined BMW is to put together an exceptional platform that’s scalable in every way.
Speaking to WhichCar in a recent interview, BMW’s CTO Frank Weber, disclosed some very interesting details about what we should expect. First of all, this new platform is supposed to offer the ideal base for every car in the range. That’s possible due to clever packaging, the architecture being designed so that it can house various battery sizes, depending on the car and model the customer opts for.
“We developed a scalable set of modules housing different types of cells from range-oriented to performance-focused. Done right, this gene pool fits the entire line-up including the sporty M models,” said Weber. That last bit is of extreme importance, especially for those shivering at the thought of an electric M car. Don’t fool yourself, fully-electric BMW M models are coming, but the key question here is: how will they drive.
If the weight will be kept in check, there’s a good chance that they will resemble the current portfolio by quite a lot. To that end, the usage of new battery technology would be instrumental. Solid state batteries are considered the next evolutionary step in this direction and BMW is apparently working on that too. The Neue Klasse is designed to house such tech from the get go. That along with a patented fully integrated inverter and SSM e-motors should prove to be the key, winning bits that set BMW apart from the rest of its rivals.
At the moment, it seems like BMW is alone in using SSM e-motors, while the rest of the industry is focusing on ASM and PSM principles. That gives the Bavarian manufacturer the upper hand, according to Weber, as the SSM e-motors have “a higher performance density, a very strong and stable peak performance, high repeatability, low noise emission and an excellent efficiency quotient of 97 per cent.” Other car makers could follow suit but, for now, BMW remains the only car maker that managed to overcome the challenges of manufacturing these motors.
Taking all of this new info at face value should translate into some pretty interesting products being launched in the future, based on this Neue Klasse platform. The first cars to come out using it will also be some of the most important: the BMW 3 Series and X3. These are big volume sellers and there’s a lot riding on their success.