A New Platform Gives BMW More Electric Vehicle Confidence Than Ever
There’s no reason for BMW not to show confidence in the electric vehicle market. This is the brand that brought us the venerable i8 and interesting i3 models.
Although BMW has been in the EV world longer than some of the others, it doesn’t mean it has a leg up any longer. That said, the new platform being created in Bavaria allow the CEO and others to feel extremely confident about the future of the BMW EV lineup. What you might not realize, this is yet another luxury automaker hell-bent on becoming an EV-only brand.
Bold is the way of this German brand
We’ve grown accustomed to bold statements from BMW. Many times, this company can back up what they say. Such is the case with the M-Division, and the many incredible performance-oriented models offered. If we look at the original electrified offering, there’s a true dichotomy. The BMW i3 was a small, affordable hatchback that became the test-bed of electrification, while the i8 was an exciting performance machine made to rocket to high speeds in a hurry. Which of these two models makes the most sense to transition toward a full line of EVs? Strangely, the answer is both of them.
The most recent bold statement made by BMW is that it intends to become the benchmark for range, charging speeds, and pricing. Pricing seems like a serious focus for the brand, but with the BMW label on a vehicle, most consumers would rather see a high-quality, luxury-laden model that can deliver on the brand’s legacy rather than cutting prices to save a few bucks. Should this message get across to BMW regarding its electric vehicle lineup, we might have the models we desire wearing the badge that we associate with luxury performance at its highest level.
BMW hasn’t quite hit its electric stride yet
The BMW i3 hatchback was the first true all-electric vehicle from this brand. The i8 offered a hybrid powertrain, gaining power from electrification and a small gasoline engine. Some of the EVs that have come since that time gives us the idea that BMW might be on the right path, but they still have a long way to go. The iX3 was supposed to be the ideal EV, filled with technology, range, power, and cargo space that couldn’t be beaten in its class. Guess what? It’s been beaten, and that didn’t take too long.
The iX3 isn’t an example of BMW failing in the electric vehicle world but more a story of this brand hitting some of the right notes while facing steady competition. This competition continues to grow as the entire automotive market moves toward new electrified vehicles. Since the iX3 hit the market, other EVs have arrived wearing the signature twin-kidney grille and BMW badge. The iX and i4 are two examples of these new models giving us a sedan and an exciting SUV that both offer an excellent driving range and power for customers to enjoy the drive. Unfortunately, neither new EV has dominated the market.
BMW EV sales aren’t at an acceptable level
BMW sales figures sit in the middle of the pack regarding German EV automakers. That’s not too bad when you compare this brand to both Audi and Mercedes-Benz, but it’s not where BMW wants to be. This brand expects to sit at the top of the hill, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. To help improve the brand’s EV standing, BMW is heavily invested in a new platform to bring a new wave of EVs to the market. This new platform is called “Neue Klasse,” which stands for New Class.
Have we seen the Neue Klasse platform unveiled?
This new BMW electric vehicle platform appeared at the recent Consumer Electronics Show where the i Vision Dee appeared in its concept form. This concept model might never hit the market as a production model, but it brings the foundational elements we’re looking for in a new BMW EV and what the brand is excited about. The bold statements of leading the way in the EV market hinges entirely on the success of this new platform and what it brings to the table.
The BMW battery tech isn’t quite there yet
Many automakers, including BMW, consider the next evolution of EV battery tech to be found in solid-state battery development. The current batteries in BMW EVs include new cylindrical cells that are more energy dense than most other models. This improves charging speed and overall range by as much as 20-30% compared to current batteries. That said, the next level of this tech is the move toward solid-state batteries. BMW has a significant investment in this new tech with its partner Solid Power, which is working on the development of these new batteries.
If solid-state batteries are successfully created, they should offer a much denser and more powerful platform for electric vehicles. The challenge facing BMW is getting to market first with these new batteries. Will BMW hit the market with its new electric vehicles on this upgraded platform first, or will it be nothing more than another bold statement that falls short of expectations. Other investors are also working with Solid Power and other battery company to develop the first solid-state batteries made to offer excellent power and performance for the next wave of electric vehicles.
Will BMW be first, or will other automakers beat them to the punch?
BMW isn’t the only automaker putting out aggressive and bold statements that could lead to the development of EVs that offer more driving range, more power, faster charging times, and lower prices. Until solid-state batteries are made to be as affordable as lithium-ion models, we won’t have the answer to whether BMW can deliver on these promises or not. The first BMW EV expected to use the Neue Klasse platform should arrive in 2025. It could be a midsize sedan made in Hungary that’s sold in the European market.
Will BMW eventually take over the electric vehicle market? Can Solid Power deliver solid-state batteries to BMW sooner than other automakers? We won’t know for a few more years, but we can hope to have positive answers to these questions soon.
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