Many of you will surely still remember when in 2019 the then BMW development director, Klaus Frölich, launched a statement that will haunt him all his life. In an interview with the German press he indicated that there was no demand for electric cars. None. Now, four years later, BMW has seen how electric car registrations around the world have skyrocketed, and even BMW’s own sales have doubled in one year. Something that has led them to press the accelerator with more investments and new launches.
In 2022, BMW has managed to sell a total of 215,000 electric cars around the world. A figure that supposes multiplying by two those of 2021, and that paves the way for a year, this 2023, where the expectations are to return to growth at a rate close to 100%.
This will be made possible by the BMW Group’s plans to launch a major offensive of new electric models over the next five years, including the launch of six new models on the upcoming Neue Klasse (New Class) platform.
This same year, BMW expects to achieve reach 400,000 battery electric cars, which will mean that 20% of its sales will already be BEV models. A figure that will not stop growing, reaching 25% in 2025, 33% in 2026 and with a share of 50% by 2030. BMW’s own estimates that will clearly fall short and will have to be updated shortly.
On Wednesday, CEO Oliver Zipse told investors that BMW has accelerated in the transition to electrification. Something that is reflected in the reduction of emissions in its range, which last year have been placed at an average of 105 grams per km, 22 g/km below its target.
New releases from BMW
But to sell more cars, BMW urgently needs to increase its family of electric. In the short term, one of the most anticipated movements is the arrival of the electric BMW 5 Series. A proposal that will come from the hand of this new version that will be launched on the market this coming month of October, and that will have a family variant in 2024.
Another key model is the iX2. The battery version of the compact X2 crossover, which will also be renewed this year, and which will arrive to compete for sales within the Volvo C40 Recharge segment, and which will arrive with arguments such as a two-motor propulsion system, with 230 kW (313 CV) of power, and a 64.7 kWh battery, which will provide an estimated autonomy of just over 450 km WLTP.
The other brands of the group, Rolls-Royce and Mini, they will also receive new electric models. The Rolls-Royce Spectre, the first electric luxury brand par excellence, will hit the market in the third quarter of this year, and will do so with an estimated price of 400,000 euros.
For its part, Mini will launch three fully electric models, including the Mini convertible in the first half of this year, and a new hatchback in late 2023. We will also see the arrival of the four-door electric Countryman, which will be launched in the first half of 2024, and will be followed by the production version of the Mini Aceman concept.
The Aceman and Mini hatchback will be built on a platform developed with China’s Great Wall Motors; the Countryman will continue to share the group’s FAAR platform with the BMW X1.
A key question is where the new electric Minis will be built. According to Oliver Zipse, CEO of the group, negotiations with the UK government are ongoing to see if public incentives convince the manufacturer to maintain production at the Oxford, England plant. For its part, the electric Countryman has already been assigned to Leipzig, Germany.
Six Neue Klasse models
BMW has not released a specific model plan for the Neue Klasse architecture, except to say that there will be six models to be released once production begins in 2025. The first models will be in the high-volume, saloon, crossover and compact SUV segments, which is a highly ambitious commitment that is essential to achieve sales targets.
But to achieve this, in addition to product, BMW needs competitive batteries. In this case, the German manufacturer has indicated that its new designs have managed to create a 50% cheaper battery pack thanks to the use of a cylindrical cell type and a different chemistry.
This will also have a 20% more energy densityand will provide vehicles with 30% more range with each charge, as well as a 30% shorter recharge time than current ones.
If fulfilled, BMW expects electric cars to achieve match production costs and margins of combustion engine models by 2025. A key moment and an objective that feeds the investment of the brand.
One of the keys will be the reduction of production costs that will allow the new platform to be achieved. It is estimated that This will reduce the costs of current architectures by 50%. A platform that will begin its production at the Hungarian plant in Debrecen, from where it will later be extended to Munich, China, Mexico, and finally a new plant in the United States.