The NK1 that’s earmarked to introduce the Neue Klasse architecture is one of four electric saloons that BMW plans to launch by the end of 2025. It will follow the CLAR-based i4, i5 and i7 with the choice of either rear- or four-wheel drive.
But whereas the i4, i5 and i7 all borrow heavily from ICE models, the NK1 is set to receive an “electric-centric design”, with new proportions and contemporary styling elements that are expected to influence the next generation of BMW models.
Among the architectural developments brought by the new platform is a flat floor structure that does away with the centre tunnel of the electrified CLAR platform as well as a considerably longer wheelbase that enables the A-pillars to be pulled forward for improved space and interior packaging.
“People are expecting different aesthetics. That’s why we’ve developed a new styling direction for our electric models,” explained Weber.
The construction of the NK1 saloon is planned to draw heavily on that of the seven-year-old i3 and recently introduced iX with an aluminium and steel platform base; a carbonfibre ‘cage’ body structure that uses carbonfibre-reinforced plastic in areas such as the sills; and a combination of aluminium, steel and composite-plastic body panels.
Power for the NK1 is planned to come from BMW’s new sixth-generation powertrain using synchronous electric motors.
Unlike the many rival car makers that rely on component suppliers for their powertrain expertise and volume requirements, BMW wasquick to bring electric motor development and production competence in-house.
Weber says this enables the firm to react quickly. “We’re developing electric motors that will be even more efficient yet more powerful than those we use today,” he said.
He also revealed that they won’t be restricted to standard versions but can also serve in a hot M variant of the NK1.