BMW previews future electric SUV with faster charging, more range


BMW previews future electric SUV with faster charging, more range

BMW continues to preview its next-generation EVs with a new concept car, while also providing a bit more detail on some of the engineering for these new models, which are due to start production next year.

The BMW Vision Neue Klasse X is an electric SUV that forecasts a model due to start production in Debrecen, Hungary, in 2025. It follows the Vision Neue Klasse compact sedan concept unveiled last fall in previewing the Neue Klasse (German for “new class”), named in honor of the family of models from the 1960s that set the template for modern BMWs.

Like the previous sedan concept, the Vision Neue Klasse X features a minimalist look, although the SUV sports a prominent version of BMW’s signature twin-kidney grille. The tall, thin grille resembles those used on original Neue Klasse models, and houses sensors for driver aids. While the taller SUV is likely less aerodynamic than the sedan, BMW claims a 20% reduction in drag over a comparable current model.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X concept

Neue Klasse models will also feature faster charging than current BMW EVs thanks to an 800-volt electrical architecture, and they’re at the leading edge of a battery shift for the company. BMW claims new cylindrical battery cells have a volumetric energy density more than 20% higher than the prismatic cells it currently uses. The combination of cylindrical cells and the 800-volt shift will speed up charging by up to 30%, BMW claims.

Sixth-generation drive units will also help boost range by up to 30%, according to BMW, while new tires and an EV-specific braking system should improve overall efficiency by up to 25%.

Bidirectional charging to serve as home backup power

Bidirectional charging is also part of the Neue Klasse vehicles. “Our customers can feed electrical energy stored in the vehicle back into their own house, electrical devices like your e-bike or the public power grid,” explained BMW chairman Oliver Zipse, in a statement that was cited from the automaker’s Annual Conference this week. “This lowers electricity costs and helps stabilize networks.”

The Vision Neue Klasse X is also further proof that future BMW interiors will adopt a minimalist, screen-focused design. A door-to-door panoramic display and 3D head-up display provide most information to the driver, with functions controlled primarily through a central touchscreen or voice assistant. The Vision Neue Klasse X also debuts the HypersonX Wheel, a feature BMW claims will allow drivers to play customizable sounds.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X concept

BMW Vision Neue Klasse X concept

Following the start of production in Hungary, Neue Klasse EVs will be manufactured at BMW’s main plant in Munich, Germany. Production in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, will then follow in 2027, likely allowing vehicles to qualify for U.S. federal tax credits.

With their cylindrical battery cells, 800-volt architecture, and high-tech interiors, the Neue Klasse EVs will certainly be innovative. But they’ll also incorporate some lessons learned from the formative BMW i3, albeit with a form factor and design aimed more at the mainstream.

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