BMW CEO says Vision Neue Klasse concept represents dawn of new era of innovation

German automaker BMW unveiled a highly anticipated electric concept car on Saturday, saying the so-called “Vision Neue Klasse” represents the dawn of a new era for the company.

BMW’s latest design showcases a platform that will underpin the brand’s next generation of electric vehicles. The first electric car based on the Neue Klasse (or new class) architecture will enter production in 2025.

The new range of electric vehicles includes BMW’s sixth-generation batteries, which the company says will improve charging speed and range by up to 30 percent on the Neue Klasse platform. Thanks to these measures, BMW says the overall efficiency of the vehicle will increase by up to 25 percent.

Oliver Zipse, BMW CEO, told CNBC: “With the BMW Vision Neue Klasse, we’re putting all the innovative power that BMW has in electric, in digital and, of course, in the car. Will be ready for the circular industry,” Gumede said.

“In just two years’ time, these cars will be on the road and, collectively, we will lead BMW into a new era of innovation and sustainability. That’s what we’re here at the IAA for,” Zipse said.

The Vision Neue Klasse will make its public debut in the coming days at the IAA Motor Show in Munich, which is also BMW’s headquarters. The IAA Show is one of the largest mobile trade shows in the world.

“We believe electric vehicles will be the biggest growth area in the global auto industry and we want to be the dominant force here,” Zipse said.

An employee checks car logos during final inspections on the production line at the factory of German automaker BMW in Leipzig, eastern Germany, October 20, 2022.

Ronnie Hartman | AFP | Getty Images

BMW’s chief executive expects pure electric vehicles to account for 15 percent of the automaker’s global sales by the end of 2023, and “we will increase this percentage even further next year and the year after.”

Frank Weber, the member of BMW’s management board responsible for development, said the Neue Klasse range represented a “significant technological leap” for the automaker.

Chinese EV giant ‘not scared at all’

In early August, BMW said it expected ongoing challenges from supply chain issues and persistently high inflation to persist in the coming months. Still, the company raised its annual forecast for EBIT margins in the automotive segment.

Shares of BMW are up about 13% so far this year.

Asked about the Chinese electric car giant’s presence at the Munich auto show and whether it was concerned about Chinese exports to Europe affecting BMW’s business, Zipse replied: “No, we’re not scared at all.”

“When global players like China, the world’s largest auto market, come to Munich and show what they want, it’s a sign of attraction. It’s not just cars, it’s a tech show, it’s A show of innovation,” Zipse said.

“I think it’s very exciting to have everyone here, the Americans, the Europeans, and now the Chinese. You’ve heard it from me, I’m more excited, and I’m not scared at all, it’s Well, we have a show with a lot of competition. It’s fantastic.”

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