U.S.-bound next-gen BMW iX3 to be the first Neue Klasse EV: Report

  • Next-gen BMW iX3 coming to the U.S.
  • To compete with the Tesla Model Y and the Audi Q6 e-tron
  • Both EV and cell production to take place in North America
  • World premiere scheduled in 2025

A new post from BimmerPost forum member ynguldyn, a credible source for BMW scoops, suggests that the next-gen BMW iX3 (codename: BMW NA5) will be the first Neue Klasse electric model. Unlike the current electric SUV that is sold in Asia and Europe, the next-gen iX3 will likely be available in the U.S.

Neue Klasse

Neue Klasse will be the family of third-gen BMW EVs. Redefined IT and software architecture, a new generation of electric drivetrains and batteries, and a radically new approach to sustainability throughout the lifecycle will be the main pillars of BMW Neue Klasse electric models.

Platform

The next-gen BMW iX3, unlike the current model, will sit on a platform developed exclusively for zero-emission models. “The Neue Klasse is electric-only,” Dr. Nicolas Peter, CFO, BMW Group, said during the company’s Q2 2022 earnings conference call on August 3, 2022. Speaking further, Dr. Peter clarified that when he said “electric-only,” he was referring to not just battery electric vehicles but also hydrogen electric vehicles. However, one thing’s clear now, the platform underpinning the next-gen BMW iX3 won’t need to support an internal combustion engine and thus will be more advanced.

Specifications

BMW Group has given indications about what we can expect from its components and how it would be better than the current model. The next-gen BMW iX3 will debut the sixth generation of BMW eDrive technology. The proprietary term ‘BMW eDrive’ refers to a combination of the core components of an EV, which are power electronics, electric motor(s), and a high-voltage battery pack.

In an announcement on September 9, 2022, Joachim Post, BoM Member responsible for Purchasing and Supplier Network, BMW Group, revealed that the company plans to use newly-developed round battery cells in the sixth-gen eDrive. Manufacturing of the new cells will take place at two factories in China, two in Europe, and two in the North American free trade zone.

BMW round cell cylindrical cell
The battery pack of the next-gen BMW iX3 will likely use newly developed cylindrical cells made in North America. Image Source: BMW Group

The new cylindrical cells will be the sixth generation of BMW’s lithium-ion battery cells and could be comparable to Tesla’s 4680 cells. They will have the same diameter – 46 mm – and two different heights. Compared to the fifth-gen cells, which are prismatic cells, the nickel content will be higher on the cathode side, while the cobalt content will be lower. On the anode side, the silicon content will be higher.

The next-gen BMW iX3 is likely to feature cell-to-pack battery pack technology. In a typical EV, the battery pack consists of modules, and these modules contain the cells. The upcoming module-less battery pack should have better volume utilization efficiency.

Frank Weber, BoM member responsible for Development, BMW Group, said that the sixth-gen lithium-ion cells will offer more than 20% improvement in energy density, up to 30% faster charging, and up to 30% longer range. For reference, the current BMW iX3 with the fifth-gen (prismatic lithium-ion) cells can travel up to 461 km or 286 miles on a full charge as per WLTP. The next-gen BMW iX3 with the new cylindrical lithium-ion cells could deliver a WLTP range of close to 600 km or 373 miles.

With double the regular charging voltage – 800 volts, the Neue Klasse EVs, potentially including the next-gen BMW iX3, will likely take maximum benefit of Electrify America’s 350 kW rapid chargers in the U.S. Charging from 10 to 80% SoC could take just 20-25 minutes.

BMW Group plans to use cheaper, lithium iron phosphate cells also in select future BMW EVs, and the next-gen BMW iX3 could be one of them. The company could use lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells in the low-end configurations of the next-gen BMW iX3 to price it more competitively in select markets, one of which could be China.

Production

Europe

BMW Group has confirmed that production of the first Neue Klasse electric model will take place at a new plant in Debrecen, Hungary, from 2025. According to BimmerPost forum member ynguldyn, the next-gen BMW iX3 will enter production at the company’s new Hungarian factory as its first Neue Klasse electric model in August 2025 and remain under production there until October 2033.

North America

The aforementioned BimmerPost forum member claims that BMW Group plans to make the next-gen BMW iX3 in North America as well, at the company’s existing facility in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The Mexican factory currently builds the seventh-gen BMW 3 Series Sedan and the second-gen BMW 2 Series Coupe. It will start rolling out the next-gen BMW iX3 over a year after the Hungarian facility.

Asia

The BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture plant in Shenyang, China, which is the exclusive producer of the first-gen iX3, may also build the next-gen iX3. This way, like Tesla, BMW Group would have its mid-size electric SUV strategically produced on three different continents worldwide.

Release Date

The next-gen BMW iX3 could debut in summer 2025 and go on sale in Europe in late 2025. In the U.S., customer deliveries of the Mexican-made next-gen iX3 could commence in late 2026.

TopElectricSUV says

BMW Group can’t afford to remain absent in America’s most popular luxury EV segment for long. It may have decided against bringing down the current iX3 due to the limited range, performance, and the absence of an AWD, but the next-gen iX3 is a certaintly in the U.S. The redesigned electric mid-size SUV should be significantly more efficient and deliver a much longer range than the current model. Add North American production to the mix and thus lower cost, and Munich may have a top-selling model in the U.S.

Featured Image Source: BMW Group