BMW is lagging behind its premium competition in the electric vehicle market. Its BMW i4 and iX are impressive on paper but have yet to be tested properly by any publications, nor have either of them reached dealerships yet. Over the past few years, though, Audi three all-new fully electric models (five, if you count Sportback variants) and Mercedes-Benz released three as well. Yet, BMW’s two haven’t even hit the road yet. However, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse promises that four new purely electric models will be here in just two years’ time.
“We are fully committed to electric cars wherever the use of battery-electric drive trains makes sense, and it is possible because the conditions are right,” Zipse said during a recent earnings call.
According to Automotive News Europe, the four cars will be an all-electric 7 Series, 5 Series, X1, and MINI Countryman. The first ones to come will be the 7 Series and the X1, which are said to go fully electric as early as next year.
“By 2023 we will offer our customers at least one BEV option in nearly all our vehicle segments and over the next 10 years we aim to release a total of about 10 million fully electric vehicles onto the market,” he said.
These new vehicles will be built on BMW’s Neue Klasse architecture, harking back to the Neue Klasse chassis vehicles of the’60s and ’70s. Those iconic vehicles launched BMW into new territory, so the idea is that this new Neue Klasse can do it again. There’s a bit of confusion about the nature of the Neue Klasse and what sort of powertrains it will use but the idea is that it will be designed for EVs first but can also accommodate internal combustion, for hybrids, and even hydrogen.
“Our new vehicle architecture is uncompromisingly electric, whether with battery power or hydrogen,” said Zipse.
According to this same report, the Neue Klasse will be a highly flexible architecture that will underpin the widest range of vehicles of any BMW chassis yet. It will even underpin some Rolls-Royce models, which is interesting considering the latter brand’s relatively recent investment in its own bespoke luxury architecture.
“The Neue Klasse comes with a new IT and software architecture, as well as newly developed high-performance electric drive train and battery generation,” he said.
BMW has high hopes for its new EVs; the i4, iX, and whatever comes next. In fact, BMW hopes to sell two million EVs to customers by 2025, an ambitious goal to say the least. Let’s hope BMW’s right, though, as the more EVs on the road, the better.
[Source: Automotive News Europe]