BMW is working on its next-generation EV platform, code-named Neue Klasse, German for “New Class,” and the automaker has provided a taste of some of the digital aspects of the platform with the BMW i Vision Dee concept.
Revealed on Wednesday ahead of a formal debut on Thursday at the 2023 CES in Las Vegas, the i Vision Dee is a compact sedan that’s been built to highlight the growing importance of digitization and connectivity in cars. A related BMW i Vision Circular concept was shown in 2021 as a representation of the circular economy, another core tenet of the Neue Klasse platform.
The Dee in the latest concept’s name stands for “Digital Emotional Experience,” something the driver may experience through what BMW describes as intelligent, almost human capabilities from the digital systems being developed for the Neue Klasse platform. Specific features could be as simple as a personalized welcome message whenever the driver enters the car, to something more complex like the headlights and grille using intelligent lighting to produce facial expressions.
In the i Vision Dee concept, a head-up-display spans the width of the windscreen, a feature BMW has confirmed will be offered in vehicles based on the Neu Klasse platform. The HUD serves as the main interface for the driver.
The dashboard of the i Vision Dee concept is noticeably bare to let the driver to focus on the digital experience and the driving experience. A slide controller in the center of the dash allows the driver to select how much content they want visible in the HUD. There are five levels, ranging from basic driving-related information all the way up to full augmented-reality projection and even the display of virtual worlds.
BMW plans to release more information on the Neue Klasse platform during the course of 2023. The first Neue Klasse-based vehicle will be built at a plant under construction in Debrecen, Hungary, starting in 2025. Neue Klasse-based vehicles will also be built at an existing plant in Munich, Germany, starting in 2026. The first vehicle will be a sedan in the 3-Series segment, which will be followed by a sporty SUV.
The Neue Klasse platform is being developed from the onset for electric powertrains. Originally, BMW planned for it to replace the current UKL and CLAR platforms by also supporting internal-combustion engines in various hybrid configurations, but that plan has been abandoned. The platform will be capable of supporting a hydrogen fuel cell, however.
The platform will allow engineers to vary the wheelbase length to fit a variety of body styles, and vehicles based on the platform will take on more aerodynamic designs to help maximize range. As a result, proportions will differ from the past, not only for aerodynamics but also to boost interior space. The platform will also use BMW’s sixth-generation electric motor and battery technology, which promises improved power and efficiency. The battery will feature a new cylindrical cell design (instead of the current prismatic cell design), and together with other improvements should result in a range improvement of 30% over BMW’s current batteries.
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