2023 has started and that means we’re only about two years away from a new wave of electric vehicles developed by BMW. The Neue Klasse is coming back as the name of a dedicated EV platform that will initially underpin two models in the 3 Series segment. Speaking at CES 2023 in Las Vegas, company CEO Oliver Zipse said NE will be inaugurated with a “dynamic sedan and a sporty activity vehicle,” which is BMW speak for SUV.
In other words, look for the first two NE-based models to be an i3 Sedan and an iX3. Both are already being sold today, but the former is made in China exclusively for the local market while the latter is not a truly global model since it’s not sold in the United States. The CLAR-based EVs will eventually be superseded by their Neue Klasse equivalents. Oliver Zipse referred to the new models as being “uncompromisingly designed for pure electromobility.”
BMW’s head honcho went on to say Neue Klasse will represent a “quantum leap” as far as technology, design, and sustainability are concerned. The 58-year-old executive said the NE family will be expanded shortly after the initial 2025 sedan and SUV duo with new models arriving “in quick sequence.” As a reminder, the new plant in Debrecen (Hungary) will be the first to make NE models from 2025, with Munich to follow in 2026 while Spartanburg will assemble at least six vehicles by 2030.
The only details released by BMW about Neue Klasse models pertain to the round batteries. Compared to the current prismatic cells, the sixth generation of batteries will increase range and charging speed by 30% while shaving weight by 20%. Production costs are expected to be halved while CO2 emissions associated with manufacturing are projected to drop by 60%.
BMW’s round battery cells will have a standard diameter of 46 millimeters (1.61 inches) and two heights: 95 mm (3.7 in) for cars and 120 mm (4.7 in) for SUVs. Energy density is estimated to increase by 20% compared to the current Gen5 batteries and a minute of charging the pack will bring 30 miles (nearly 50 kilometers) of range.