Everything You Need to Know About BMW's New Class EVs

The German automaker is investing heavily in rebooting its approach to designing EVs.

BMW New Class concept carBMW


In contrast to Mercedes-Benz and Audi, BMW builds its electric cars off the same basic designs as its gasoline-powered cars. This approach will change around 2025 with an updated platform underneath called New Class that engineers developed specifically to underpin the company's EVs. BMW stressed that it won't use carryover parts and will bring innovative features to the EV segment.

BMW New Class concept car interiorBMW

BMW's Definition of Neue Klasse

The name chosen for the platform is significant: New Class (Neue Klasse in German) originally denoted a series of midrange cars released in 1961 that included sedans and coupes. These cars helped BMW significantly increase its annual sales by positioning itself as a credible player in the luxury car segment. The '60s New Class inaugurated an approach to design and performance that defined the brand for decades.

Fast-forward to 2023, and the company pledges to pack a similar level of innovation into the 21st century New Class platform. However, most of the advancements will be technology related.

BMW will notably use a new type of battery cell that offers a 20% increase in energy density, 30% faster charging, and 30% more driving range compared with the batteries fitted to current EVs such as the i4. Achieving these breakthroughs isn't cheap: BMW revealed that the New Class is the most expensive project in its history.

BMW New Class concept carBMW

Driven by Technology

Beyond batteries, BMW has yet to release all the technical details about the New Class platform or the cars that will ride on it. It is clear that the architecture won't be compatible with gasoline-powered engines.

That said, the automaker did unveil a concept sedan called the i Vision Dee at a Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, designed to preview some of the features available in New Class-based cars. One is a configurable head-up display that projects details across the entire windshield rather than on a small area positioned in front of the driver.

The New Class platform's interior layout will vary from model to model, but a minimalist approach to design will characterize every vehicle. BMW wants to reduce the number of buttons and switches in its cars — it's even getting rid of the round iDrive controller it has put in many of its vehicles since the 2001 7 Series.

BMW New Class concept carBMW

When We Can Expect to See BMW's First New Class Models

BMW plans to introduce the first New Class-based models in 2025 with a 3-Series-sized compact sedan and a crossover. It previewed one of them by unveiling a Vision Neue Klasse futuristic concept car at the IAA Mobility show in Munich, Germany, in 2023. The New Class platform will underpin additional vehicles scheduled for sale in the second half of the 2020s.

Production will initially occur in a new, $1 billion-plus facility in Hungary. Eventually, though, many of the firm's other factories (including its historic plant in Munich and its SUV factory near Spartanburg, South Carolina) will also build New Class-based vehicles.

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Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American journalist and automotive historian based in France. He enjoys working on old cars and spending time outdoors seeking out his next project car.