From the middle of the decade, BMW wants to build all cars on just one platform. The "New Class" is also intended to usher in a new design era.
Since the launch of the iVision Circular, the public has known that BMW is working on a new architecture, now the group is revealing more details. Autocar magazine writes that the first model on the platform, called “Neue Klasse”, will be a mid-range sedan that corresponds to the current 3-series. The vehicle with the code name NK1 is scheduled to come out in 2025. The name is intended to refer to the BMW sedans of the 1960s and 1970s. The universal approach pursued by the engine works is also new: the “New Class” is intended to serve as the basis for virtually the entire range of vehicles. The BMW Research and Innovation Center FIZ in Munich is currently developing the modular platform.
BMW Head of Development: From the 2-series sedan to the X7 SUV
The kit supports various vehicle lengths and types. Various battery packs and drives, wheelbases and track widths as well as ride heights and wheel sizes are also provided. BMW's Head of Research and Development Frank Weber puts it this way: “It (the“ New Class ”, editor's note) is scaled in such a way that we have electric cars from the size of a 2-series sedan to an SUV the size of the X7 Weber announced that the structure made of aluminum and high-strength steel not only forms the basis for all new electric models but also supports plug-in hybrids with front-engine and electric rear-wheel drive.
In a pinch, also hydrogen propulsion
Weber also says that the platform also supports a fuel cell powertrain if “the legal framework currently being discussed in various markets, including China, requires it”. The "New Class" is intended to replace both the current FAAR and CLAR architecture. “We're not going to build separate structures. With the 'New Class', the volume potential will increase sharply, ”announced Weber. The approach is intended to enable factories to produce electric and combustion models on the same lines - anywhere in the world. We learned a lot about scaling during the development of the electrified CLAR structure on which the BMW iX and BMW i4 models are based, explained Weber.
NK1 with carbon fiber cage and own electric motors
FIZ has also developed a new design direction, Weber calls it “electro-centric”. The engineers based the design on the seven-year-old i3 - they mixed its lightweight construction with a carbon fiber cage and the aluminum-steel-plastic mix from the iX. In addition, the NK1 is equipped with the sixth generation of synchronous electric motors that BMW has designed itself. The development manager is particularly proud of this. Other manufacturers relied on suppliers, but BMW acquired the competence for development and production in-house at an early stage, he reports. And emphasizes: "We are developing electric motors that will be even more efficient and powerful than today's." Weber also announced an 800-volt onboard system and charging technology that allows 350 kilowatts of charging current. Hyundai (Ioniq 5) and Kia (EV6) as well as Audi in the E-Tron GT (test) and Porsche in the Taycan (test). Regarding the battery, he says: “We are working on a recipe. We know the solid-state battery won't come until the end of the decade. But we will increase the energy density in order to achieve a greater range. "
NK1 heralds the 3rd phase
After the first phase with the i3 in 2013 and the second phase with the recently introduced iX, the NK1 is intended to usher in the third stage of BMW's electric strategy. In addition to increasing drive efficiency - there is talk of 20 percent - this also includes new sustainability goals. Interested parties will therefore find a lot of recycling materials in the interior of the NK1. The company already showed what this could look like when it presented the iVision Circular, which derives its name from the term circular economy. BMW plans that by 2030 around half of all sales worldwide will be for electric models of the new-class platform. Weber recently explained in an interview with t3n that the “New Class” is also becoming more digital.