BMW expects new EVs to match combustion-engine cars on profit

BMW cars underpinned by the company’s Neue Klasse (New Class) electric platform will be “as profitable as vehicles with state-of-the-art combustion engines,” CEO Oliver Zipse said.

The Neue Klasse platform will have a new battery chemistry and new cell formats to increase power output, Zipse said at the automaker’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

“That is also what our latest GEN6 drivetrain generation stands for: more output, a new cell chemistry and new cell formats,” he said, without naming the supplier.

BMW is targeting cost savings of 30 percent from the Neue Klasse platform’s new cylindrical cell format, which is similar in design to that used by Tesla, Bloomberg reported.

Zipse said on the company’s quarterly earnings call last week that BMW will initially focus its Neue Klasse architecture on full-electric models for the midsize premium segment, such as future generations of the 3 Series.

The platform goes into production in 2025 at the automaker’s new factory in Debrecen, Hungary. The company will lay the foundation stone for the plant on June 1, Zipse said at the annual meeting. The first pre-series cars will come off the line 26 months later, he added.

BMW will sign contracts with suppliers for the first vehicles on the platform by the end of the year. Contracts will be awarded “taking into account CO2 emissions and the percentage of secondary [recycled] material as criteria for selecting suppliers,” Zipse said.

The plant in Hungary will be operated “entirely without fossil fuels,” Zipse said. Power will be generated either on site or bought from suppliers offering renewable energy.

Two design prototypes for the first models based on the platform have already shown to board members, Zipse said. “We can promise you that you will also be fascinated by them. The Neue Klasse represents precisely the quantum leap we are aiming for,” he said.

Zipse said BMW will have eight all-electric models on the road this year. “If we include pre-production vehicles, we are already building 15 BEVs,” he told shareholders.

The automaker expects 10 percent of its deliveries this year to be BEVs. “In the first three months, our BEV sales more than doubled compared to the prior-year quarter,” Zipse said.

He said the company is aiming for a cumulative two million sales of all-electric cars by 2025.

“By 2030, at least half our global sales should come from all-electric vehicles. We are naturally doing everything we can to meet this goal earlier,” Zipse said.

Zipse added that BMW Group’s Mini and Rolls-Royce brands will be all-electric from the early 2030s.

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