BMW is already working on the successor to its i3 full-electric compact car, according to the company’s development boss, Frank Weber. In a recent interview with Automobilwoche, Automotive News Europe’s sister publication, Weber stated that the upcoming EV will take a less contentious design route than its predecessor.
First Foray into EVs
The BMW i3 was unveiled in 2013, marking the German automaker’s initial venture into mass-produced electric cars. Despite its commercial success—with more than 250,000 units sold over a nine-year run—the i3 faced its share of criticism. Notably, the vehicle’s boxy hatchback form was a point of contention among long-time fans, who found its design “off” in contrast to BMW’s legacy of streamlined sedans.
“A lot of people liked it, but in the eyes of others, the i3 was not a real BMW. It was a bit of an outsider in the classroom, if you will. We will not repeat that in this form,” Weber emphasized.
A Future Rooted in Neue Klasse
BMW is investing in its Neue Klasse electric architecture, an underpinning expected to offer increased driving ranges, faster charging, and innovative software features. The development aims to cut battery pack costs by half, making future electric cars more accessible. “BMW definitely needs to bring to market an affordable, compact car,” said Weber. “We attach great importance to offering customers the best possible access to the BMW brand.”
Production Plans Unveiled
The company announced its intention to initiate production of the first Neue Klasse cars in 2025, at its forthcoming Debrecen plant in Hungary, followed by an additional launch in Munich within the same year. Initially, the Neue Klasse architecture will serve as the base for a midsize sedan and an SUV.
“We will expand the Neue Klasse by four more vehicles within the first two years,” Weber added. This signals BMW’s intention to diversify its electric offerings, accommodating a wide range of customer needs, from compact cars to more expansive models.
By taking a measured approach to design and technological innovation, BMW will manage to extend its iconic brand into the electric future all the while reaching a broader audience. We hope that BMW will see fit to offer a variety of body styles including a long-roof, aka station wagon, version… We can always hope for its return in North America.