BMW’s future cars and SUVs will ride on a new electric-focused platform the brand plans to introduce in 2025, according to an Automotive News report. This has been an expected announcement from BMW because the company is still one of the few major automakers that haven’t introduced a platform designed for EVs.
The upcoming platform is called the New Class platform (Neue Klasse in German) and is designed for all-electric vehicles, but diesel and gas ICE, hybrid, and hydrogen fuel cell powertrains can also be fitted into the new platform. This means it’s not a dedicated EV platform that some of BMW’s rivals are currently working on. However, it’s quite flexible because it will be able to support rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive configurations.
The upcoming platform will feature a new high-voltage electrical architecture with an improved battery cell design, but no details have been released. BMW took into account the different proportions EVs have like shorter overhangs and more interior space when designing the new platform.
According to the Automotive News report:
Over time, the New Class will replace BMW's two existing architectures: The UKL small platform used for BMW compact cars and by Mini. It accommodates FWD and AWD cars and launched in 2014 on the Mini hatchback. The CLAR larger platform, featuring RWD and AWD, used for the rest of the BMW lineup. It launched in 2015 with the 7 Series sedan.
BMW has had to significantly overhaul the UKL and CLAR platforms for EVs and long-range plug-in hybrids because the platform was originally designed for ICE and short-range plug-ins.
The i4 electric sedan and iX electric SUV, which will be released later this year, will be underpinned by a highly upgraded version of the CLAR platform. The brand’s 5 Series and 7 Series sedans will also receive electric variants built on the CLAR platform within the next few years.
Last week, BMW announced that it wants half of the vehicles sold to be EVs by 2030. The New Class platform will be pivotal to the success of the company’s EV goal. The German automaker has gotten heat in the past for not taking the automotive industry’s switch to electric power seriously enough, but this new platform is definitely a step in the right direction.