BMW Neue Klasse electric cars will offer up to 1,341 horsepower

BMW was quickly out of the gate at the start of the electric vehicle revolution with its first battery-electric car, the i3. It featured many innovative ideas, especially its use of a mostly carbon fiber chassis, but it suffered from modest range at a time when public charging infrastructure was virtually non-existent. The company offered a model with a range-extending motor, which seemed like the perfect solution to the range and charging problem, but US regulators effectively killed it by insisting the motor not be turned on. until the battery is about 5% charged. .

At this point, the motor could either recharge the battery or move the car forward, but it couldn’t do both. Sales of the i3 continued elsewhere, but never took off in the United States. BMW ended up with a bit of a black eye and a public relations disaster in America, which it didn’t deserve. The i3 debacle also helped fuel the belief among American drivers that electric cars really weren’t ready for prime time, a mindset that’s only just beginning to change.

Since then, BMW has stumbled and fought its way forward. Its current EV offerings are decent and owners seem to like them, but they really haven’t innovated except in the design department. Love ’em or hate ’em, the new electric BMWs are distinctive!

It’s been well over a decade since the i3 first appeared and a lot has happened in the world of electric cars since then. BMW is now set to bring its third-generation electric cars to market using its all-new Neue Klasse chassis. The first models should not arrive before 2025, but the company is already announcing its wonders.

In a press release in September, he said the new cars would reduce embedded carbon emissions – mainly through improvements in battery manufacturing – and dramatically increase the use of recycled materials, while making the cars themselves even more recyclable when they reach the end of their useful life. life. BMW says $4 trillion of materials for battery production will be needed by 2050. 45% of emissions are caused by the production and use of raw materials, and only 9% of all materials are currently recycled .

Presentation of the Neue Klasse

Recently, BMW held a splashy press event for its Neue Klasse vehicles, and CAR review was on hand to report on the festivities. Chief Technology Officer Frank Weber began by announcing, “With the New Class range, we are going to take a huge leap forward in technology.”

It starts with a new ‘pack to open body’ concept that allows BMW to tailor its battery sizes to any model. As we previously reported, BMW will move away from the prismatic cells it previously relied on and move to round battery cells. They will be 46mm in diameter – a configuration pioneered by Tesla – but can be of different lengths to suit the needs of each individual use case.

Where Tesla exclusively uses 4680 cells, BMW says it will use 46120 cells for its new SUVs and 4695 cells for sedans. (Samsung SDI says it is working on 4640 and 4660 battery cells for a “large European manufacturer. Hmm….) CATL, EVE and Northvolt will supply the new battery cells.” Our pack very much focused on the open body concept is pioneering a truly innovative approach to battery integration and final assembly,” says Weber.

Batteries are available in different chemistries to emphasize maximum power, extended runtime, slower degradation, or lower cost. Materials used include nickel, lithium, manganese, iron, silicon and phosphate. All this adds up to 20% more energy density, 30% more packing efficiency, up to 30% more battery life and up to 30% faster charging compared to batteries currently in use. The company adds that manufacturing costs can also be up to 50% lower.

While other manufacturers using a similar cell-chassis concept try to fill every crevice with a battery or two, BMW opts for an easy-to-install modular solution that improves torsional rigidity, lowers the center of gravity and supports the repair and maintenance work. .

“The combination of an 800-volt system and a high-performance charger increases the range every minute by 30 miles, up to a maximum of 375 miles,” says Weber. That’s about twelve minutes for a zero to 95% charge. NOW the electric vehicle revolution is getting serious!

power to the people

The Neue Klasse chassis can house up to four motors and is flexible enough to meet the needs of the company’s entire range of electric cars, from the 1 Series to the full-size X7. While most future electric models are expected to feature simple RWD and AWD layouts with one or two current-excited synchronous SSM units (separately excited) driving the rear wheels, thoroughbred M cars are expected to feature a four-wheel-drive layout. engines for ultimate grip. and extreme torque vectoring.

Why SSM instead of ASM (asynchronous excitation) or PSM (permanent excitation)? Because according to BMW, only SSM guarantees stable peak performance, high energy density, excellent repeatability and low noise emission with an efficiency rate of 97%.

Power output ranges from 268 hp to a stellar 1341 hp. Battery pack sizes will range from 75 kWh to 150 kWh. “Going big on cell power and extreme range isn’t the answer, because the size and weight penalty is counterproductive,” says Weber. “Instead, we need to get the most out of every watt-hour by further reducing rolling resistance, improving aerodynamics and increasing onboard fuel efficiency.”

Thomas Albrecht, head of Efficient Dynamics, says the Neue Klasse cars will beat previous architectures by at least 25% in terms of aerodynamic efficiency. CAR review says a multi-zone active Autobahn mode is in the works to further reduce drag above 70 mph while improving downforce in fast corners. So-called A+ tires are also in the works, which would reduce rolling resistance by up to 7%. Modified low-loss wheel bearings and friction-optimized brakes contribute an additional 4%.

What about styling?

Asked about the seemingly dramatic design changes that are in the works for the new class, Weber got rather tight-lipped. “All I can say at this time is that in terms of looks, the Neue Klasse cars will be groundbreaking efforts that leave no stone unturned.” CAR review says his sources believe Weber and his chief stylists have chosen a pragmatic and cost-effective midway fusion between the current rodent croc (their term, not ours, but if the shoe fits…) a targeted design and a completely different front look .

The new low-drag i3, due for 2025, introduces different proportions defined by the cabin front greenhouse, including a longer wheelbase, shorter front overhang and a unique slippery rear end. This, of course, is the direction in which all electric cars should go. We no longer have cars with 8, 10, 12 or 16 cylinder engines in the front. An electric vehicle platform allows designers to do things that were never possible before, but most have been reluctant to deviate too drastically from conventional expectations.

BMW will offer affordable electric cars

Mercedes said in July that it was targeting the high end of the market with its new electric cars and was spending 75% of its development budget on its “core luxury” C- and E-Class cars. At a conference hosted by Robert Bosch this week, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse said: “We are not leaving the lower end of the market. Even if you consider yourself a high-end manufacturer, you are wrong to leave the lower segment of the market which will be the core of your business in the future.

It’s good news. While we here at Clean Technica celebrate all new electric cars, trucks, buses, forklifts and airplanes, we fear that too few manufacturers are targeting this part of the market served today by Corolla, Civic and Elantra models. Only Chevrolet seems to be paying special attention to this part of the market with its upcoming Bolt and Equinox offerings.

It looks like BMW cars built on the Neue Klasse chassis will give an exciting boost to the whole electric vehicle revolution, not just to the top of the market.

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