BMW is working on its next-generation EV platform, codenamed Neue Klasse, German for “New Class,” and the automaker has previewed some of the digital aspects of the platform with the BMW i Vision Dee concept.
Unveiled Wednesday ahead of its formal debut Thursday at CES 2023 in Las Vegas, the i Vision Dee is a compact sedan 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 idea of the Neue Klasse platform.
The Dee in the latest concept’s name stands for “Digital Emotional Experience,” something the driver can experience through what BMW describes as the intelligent, almost human capabilities of the digital systems being developed for the New Class platform. Specific features can be as simple as a personalized welcome message when the driver gets into the car, or something more complex like the headlights and grille that use intelligent lighting to create facial expressions.
BMW i Vision Dee concept
On the i Vision Dee concept, a head-up display spans the width of the windshield, 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 conspicuously bare to allow the driver to focus on the digital experience and the driving experience. A slider in the center of the dashboard allows the driver to choose how much content to show on the HUD. There are five levels ranging from basic driving-related information to full augmented reality projection and even virtual world display.
BMW plans to release more information about the Neue Klasse platform throughout 2023. The first vehicle based on the new class will be built from 2025 at a plant under construction in Debrecen, Hungary. Vehicles based on the new class will also be built at an existing plant in Munich, Germany, from 2026. The first vehicle will be a sedan in the 3 Series segment, followed by a sporty SUV.
BMW i Vision Dee concept
The Neue Klasse platform was developed for electric drives from the outset. Originally, BMW planned to replace the current UKL and CLAR platforms with support for internal combustion engines in various hybrid configurations, but this plan was abandoned. However, the platform will be able to support a hydrogen fuel cell.
The platform will allow engineers to vary wheelbase length to suit a variety of body styles, and vehicles based on the platform will adopt more aerodynamic designs to maximize range. As a result, the proportions will be different from the past, not only for aerodynamics, but also to increase interior space. The platform will also use BMW’s sixth-generation electric motor and battery technology, which promises improved performance and efficiency. The battery will feature a new cylindrical cell design (replacing the current prismatic cell design) and along with other improvements will result in a 30% range improvement over BMW’s current batteries.