According to a report echoed by the BMW Blog, the Bavarian firm is working on its next electric access model, the i1. The new compact, known internally by the code NB0, will be based on the new Neue Klasse modular platform, which will be released by the new generation i3 in 2026.
According to the nomenclature system used by BMW, the models with the NA code are rear-wheel drive, while the NB corresponds to those with front-wheel drive. While the i1 will arrive in November 2027, its sedan version i2 (NB8) will wait until July 2028. Both will be virtually identical mechanically.
Among the rivals of the BMW i1 will be the next Mercedes-Benz A-Class, as well as the hypothetical Audi A3 e-Tron, whose launch is not yet confirmed. The i2 for its part will have to face the Mercedes-Benz CLA and the Polestar 2 (at the moment Audi is not expected to launch an electric sedan smaller than the future A4 e-Tron).
How could it be otherwise, both will have versions with all-wheel drive thanks to the use of a second motor on the rear axle. In addition, the BMW Motorsport division will develop high-performance “M” variants, although it is not clear if they will be “M Sport” models or if, on the contrary, they will be “M” purebred.
The Neue Klasse platform will have front, rear, and all-wheel drive versions
The Neue Klasse platform will be characterized, among other things, by having an 800-volt electrical system; therefore, it is very likely that the i1 and i2 will be able to recover 80% of their range in approximately 20 minutes, significantly improving the figures of the electric currently marketed by BMW.
Models based on the Neue Klasse platform will use new cylindrical cells made by CATL and EVE Energy. These batteries will offer 20% more energy density, 30% faster charging times, and up to 30% more autonomy, all with a 60% reduction in polluting emissions during their production and a drop in costs of up to 50%.
Although BMW does not rule out using LFP (lithium iron phosphate) cells in its access models, initially they will only be available with NCM (nickel, cobalt, manganese) chemistry. At the moment it is not known if MINI will use the Neue Klasse platform, although it is confirmed that the next Hatch and Aceman will use an architecture developed with Great Wall.