The next generation of pure-electric BMWs is coming into focus, with production to start in 2025
BMW has begun to preview some of the cutting-edge technology it will introduce in its next-generation Neue Klasse all-electric vehicles. The new family of EVs has so far only been previewed by a collection of forward-thinking concepts, such as the Vision NEXT 100, Vision Circular and more recently the Vision Dee, but BMW has now begun to preview some of the new tech it will bring to market when production begins in 2025.
The first of these new technologies is what the company calls its Panoramic Vision system, a brand new way of communicating critical information to both driver and passenger. In essence, this is a full-width head-up display that projects information onto the lower section of the windscreen, but comes with wide-reaching advancements that will dramatically change the user experience.
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Where it differs from normal head-up displays is that most critical information, such as the vehicle’s speed, will be projected onto a darkened section at the base of the windscreen, upping the visual contrast and therefore making it easier to see in all conditions. This is joined by secondary information that’s projected onto the windscreen’s clear section above: additional driver-assistance information or graphics for the sat-nav.
BMW has been a pioneer in head-up displays, yet where the technology has typically been a supplementary display, BMW Panoramic Vision will probably become the primary source of information. This could potentially dismiss the traditional set of dials that have come to define the interior of vehicles.
To coincide with BMW Panoramic Vision, the company will also significantly update the iDrive system’s control and information elements, revolutionising the entire user interface, as it did with the first iDrive system that was launched in the 2001 E65 7 Series saloon.
Yet the interior is just one element of cutting-edge technology that will debut in BMW’s new era of electric vehicles. The company will also introduce what it calls ‘round cell’ battery technology designed specifically for the Neue Klasse platform. The German firm claims a 20 per cent improvement in energy density, a 30 per cent increase in range and a 30 per cent boost to charging speed. The improved performance doesn’t come at any extra expense either, with BMW saying the cost of the battery will be reduced by up to 50 per cent.
With this new battery tech, the upcoming New Klasse models could offer the greatest range of any BMW model – a distinction currently held by the BMW iX, with its 389-mile range. The first production model to be based on the Neue Klasse platform will be a compact executive saloon similar in size to the existing 3 Series. Rather than replace that model entirely, though, the new EV will sit alongside it in the BMW line-up.
The brand says it expects over half of its global sales to come from BEVs after 2025, with the Neue Klasse platform accounting for a large chunk of those. Six factories will get investment to produce the new round cell battery, and these will be spread across Europe, China and the Americas to keep production and delivery costs down.
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