December 5, 2023
German automaker BMW is out with the first drop in a new story series.
The brand’s “Freeing Gaia” audiobook follows three young superheroes, who with their own Vision Neue Klasse vehicles, unite the digital and natural worlds. In the real world, the models are slated to debut in 2025, and in an embrace of the future, are characteristically electric, digital and circular.
“With the Neue Klasse, we are bringing mobility for the next decade to the roads from 2025 and taking BMW into a new era,” said Oliver Zipse, CEO of BMW Group, in a statement.
“The Neue Klasse means nothing less than the future of the BMW brand.”
In the audiobook, a story unfolds of three digitally-minded young people.
Key, a 32-year-old computer programming genius, is the star of the first episode. Two other characters will get their own slots, including Caleb, a 28-year-old sustainability manager, and Reema, a 20-year-old electronic DJ.
BMW presents 'Freeing Gaia' episode one
Between their ages, their support of the environment and their handle on technology, it seems that these characters could reflect the younger generations that comprise BMW’s customer base and appeal to an increasingly powerful demographic in the luxury world.
Each of these three fictional people has their own Vision Neue Klasse models for companions that help them on a quest to, as the title suggests, free Gaia, an advanced AI personality.
The presence is made up of everything humans have ever been and known, making her a compilation of all that makes and defines mankind.
With her name being affiliated with Earth, the personality seems to be a fusion of planet and power, or more specifically, technologically-driven power. This is not an angle that is unfamiliar to BMW, as the brand has often married nature and electronics in the past (see story).
The story opens with Gaia being held captive by an unknown threat. In response, she sends out a message for help to the three main characters. Using their superpowers and the capabilities of their respective vehicle models, they work together to solve the mystery.
Key’s superpower is that she has access to all AI entities around the world without needing to use a device. With her car, the BMW i Vision Dee, she meets the other characters and collaboratively works on cracking the code that Gaia sent them.
Caleb’s BMW i Vision Circular helps out too, its owner having the power of communication and interaction with nature. Reema meanwhile uses her ability to control electricity and her BMW Super iX as resources.
The trio’s EVs are highlighted throughout the narrative, their technologies explored. Security measures, digital reach, color options and more are all worked into the story, pushing the plot forward.
Like their humans, the Vision Neue Klasse cars have their own personalities and act as three other characters in the audiobook. Each supports the mission of the drivers, acting as extensions of themselves and assistants all at once.
Though only one episode has been released so far, more are to come at later dates.
The audiobook is available for streaming on Spotify, YouTube, Apple and Deezer.
Hitting the road
The Vision Neue Klasse EVs are set to be manufactured in 2025.
By this year, almost all Millennial and Gen Z customers will be on the road. The youngest in the latter generation will be 13, nearly old enough to begin driving lessons depending on where they live.
Between the rainbow-hued artwork, playful story, age of the characters and environmentally-friendly aspects of the audiobook, it appears that this is the demographic that this latest BMW project will most appeal to.
However, with EVs gaining popularity as the technology advances, the release is applicable to all.
In fact, BMW has been ramping up its charging network recently. The company is working with U.S. automaker Tesla to ensure drivers have access to Superchargers by 2025, the same year in which the Vision vehicles will be available (see story).
The upcoming cars were celebrated at the beginning of 2023 with a celebrity duo, who showcased the drop’s AI and Augmented Reality (AR) function in a campaign (see story). As the audiobook at hand reveals, the AR capabilities make for what BMW calls an “emotional experience,” allowing the driver to connect with their ride on a deeper level.
According to BMW, the EVs will also have a 30 percent greater traveling range and charge 30 percent faster, making them a more viable option for those who have been hesitant to embrace this mode of green mobility.
“The Neue Klasse represents a major technological leap that will take EfficientDynamics to new heights – the same applies to its design, which could not be any more futuristic,” said Frank Weber, member of the board of management responsible for development at BMW AG, in a statement.
“With the Neue Klasse, we have embarked on the biggest investment in the company’s history,” Mr. Weber said. “We are not just writing the next chapter of BMW; we’re writing a whole new book.
“That’s why the Neue Klasse will certainly impact all model generations.”