BMW Invests Over €2 Billion in Neue Klasse EV Factory

A long time ago, BMW offered the Neue Klasse family of vehicles. Produced between 1962 and 1972, the New Class helped the automaker get back on its feet after the financial troubles it experienced in the ‘50s.
BMW Plant Debrecen rendering 19 photos
Photo: BMW AG.
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These vehicles hold a special place in the Bavarian company’s history for introducing the Hofmeister kink to the brand. Named after Wilhelm Hofmeister, who served as design chief of BMW from 1955 through 1970, the kink isn’t a BMW-specific design element. General Motors and Lancia come to mind with the Cadillac Club Coupe and Flaminia Sport Zagato.

BMW discontinued the New Class in favor of two lines, namely the 5 Series and E9 family of coupes that would be succeeded by the 6 Series. Also worthy of note, the 02 family is closely related to the Neue Klasse.

Fast forward to the present day, and the German automaker is looking forward to reviving the storied nameplate for a brand-new series of EVs. Rather than “New Class 2: Electric Boogaloo,” the all-new platform that will make these automobiles possible is referred to as the Neue Klasse.

The plan is to replace the UKL-based FAAR (Frontantriebsarchitektur) and CLAR (CLuster ARchitecture) platforms. Compatible with all-, rear- and front-wheel-drive applications, the NK will initially underpin 3 Series- and X3-sized electric vehicles. The Neue Klasse platform also promises new battery chemistry, new cell formats, and – of course - more output.

Hungary-based Plant Debrecen will be tasked with producing NK EVs from 2025. The foundation stone was laid this year. The CO2-free plant will include a press shop, body shop, paint shop, and assembly facilities. A battery-making facility is under construction as well thanks to an investment of more than 2 billion euros (approximately $2,080,220,000).

“We’re building the most advanced plant in the world,” said Milan Nedeljkovic, member of the board responsible for production. “With our iFACTORY, we are setting new industry standards for vehicle production.” The batteries that’ll be made there are referred to as Gen6 batteries.

These batteries will improve driving range by up to 30 percent and increase charging speed by up to 30 percent. By using secondary material (raw materials that aren’t newly mined but already in the loop), the carbon footprint of battery cell production will be reduced by up to 60 percent.
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Editor's note: BMW i4 pictured in the gallery for illustration purposes.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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