BMW will introduce an electric-focused architecture in 2025 that will underpin all of its future cars and light trucks.
The New Class platform — Neue Klasse in German — is designed to be fully electric, but it will also be the platform for vehicles with gasoline and diesel internal combustion engines, including plug-in hybrids. An electric drivetrain based on a hydrogen fuel cell is also an option.
The architecture will support aerodynamic styling aimed at electric vehicles with different proportions than in the past, including a more spacious interior. It will also feature a new high-voltage battery concept with improved cell design. Rear-wheel drive will be standard, with the option to add front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
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.
UKL and CLAR were initially developed for combustion engine vehicles, including plug-in hybrids. They have since been substantially overhauled with a new central floor to accommodate battery-electric vehicles and long-range plug-in hybrids.
The CLAR upgrade came last year with the introduction of the iX3 electric crossover. The i4 electric sedan and iX electric flagship crossover, both due this year, will use the platform. Electric versions of the 5 Series and 7 Series will follow in the next few years.
The upgraded CLAR platform also allows plug-in hybrids to have larger batteries, enabling them to travel longer distances on electric power only.
The New Class architecture is the central pillar in BMW's plan to have full-electric models account for at least half of global deliveries by 2030, with every model series offering a battery power-only option.