BMW has been criticized for being late to the EV party as far as developing a dedicated electric car architecture. That won’t happen until 2025 when the second-generation iX3 will go into production on the bespoke Neue Klasse platform. Meanwhile, the luxury automaker has a rich mix of EVs that share their bones with cars powered by gasoline and diesel engines. Is this strategy a mistake? The firm’s head of R&D claims they’ve made the right call.

Speaking with Yahoo Finance during the BMW Group Annual press conference, Frank Weber argued that a diverse powertrain lineup for a model helps a customer choose whatever’s best for their needs. Offering a 7 Series with gasoline, diesel, plug-in hybrid, and electric drivetrains allows BMW to cover all the bases and produce the vehicle on the same assembly line, therefore maximizing efficiency.

“When I am visiting our dealerships, I am asking them, ‘Is it an advantage or a disadvantage that we are offering the same vehicles with all different [gas-powered and electric] powertrains?’ And for us, it is really key that you find the right solution for the individual person, and I think what has helped … [is] that we are very clear in our structure [in] that we say a 7 Series is a 7 Series, a 5 Series is a 5 Series.”

Weber has the sales numbers to back up his statement. In 2023, deliveries of EVs rose by nearly 75% to more than 375,000 units or approximately 15% of total sales. Demand for zero-emission models remains strong in 2024 as BMW has posted “significant double-digit percentage” growth in January and February 2024 compared to the first two months of last year.

Although BMW intends to launch six Neue Klasse-based EVs by 2028, that doesn’t mean it’s done with introducing electric cars that utilize the same underpinnings as ICE models. We’re hearing there are plans for next-generation X5 and X6 models with combustion engines and electric drivetrains (think iX5 and iX6) – all on the same CLAR architecture.

BMW has announced it will make at least six EVs in Spartanburg by the end of the decade. It hasn’t specified which platforms these models are going to use – either Neue Klasse or CLAR. It could be a combination of the two architectures considering all SUVs built there today ride on CLAR, from the X3 and X4 to the X7 and XM.

Inevitably, EVs will gradually move to Neue Klasse since CLAR and other platforms will be ultimately retired in the distant future. There are already reports the UKL2-based iX1 will be superseded by an NK-based model.

Source: Yahoo Finance