For a while, it seemed like BMW had turned a corner with its EV strategy. Its i4 and iX have received stellar reviews, and this spring the company announced an all-electric platform, the Neue Klasse, which it said will underpin EV versions of the 3-series sedan and the X3 crossover starting in 2025. The company that had squandered its once-promising EV lead seemed poised for a comeback.
It’s increasingly clear that Neue Klasse isn’t going to be a dedicated EV platform, at least not in the way just about every other automaker conceives of one. “We could also imagine a hydrogen drivetrain for this new vehicle generation,” CEO Oliver Zipse said in last week’s earnings call.
If BMW follows through and makes the Neue Klasse accommodate both batteries and hydrogen, it’ll have created yet another compromise platform, a futon of automotive engineering that doesn’t excel at anything except making waffling board members happy.