BMW Prepares Ground-Breaking Battery Tech For New EVs

Electric Vehicles / 4 Comments

The German automaker is promising faster charging and improved range.

If automakers want EVs to appeal to a broader audience, several issues, namely travel range and charging, need to be addressed. As such, several marques have invested in exploring energy-efficient solutions, such as solid-state batteries which, theoretically should bring untold benefits to motorists.

BMW is one of many companies that is looking into this but, in the meantime, the German brand has announced a new, sixth-generation lithium-ion cell. Some big claims are being made, with the company's Frank Weber noting improvements across the board.

"[It] will bring a huge leap in technology that will increase energy density by more than 20%, improve charging speed by up to 30%, and enhance range by up to 30% [by WLTP standards]" What's more, CO2 emissions created by cell production will be cut by 60%.

Of course, for consumers, the biggest news comes in the form of reduced costs. BMW says the production of these new batteries will be 50% lower than before.

2022-2023 BMW iX Aft View BMW 2023 BMW i7 Forward View BMW
2022-2023 BMW iX Aft View
2023 BMW i7 Forward View

With a diameter of 46 millimeters (approx. 1.8 inches), BMW notes it is available in two different heights. Compared to the fifth-generation design, the latest iteration has a higher nickel content on the cathode side, with a reduction of cobalt content. The anode side will gain more silicon, leading to a 20% improvement in volumetric energy density.

There are other benefits, too. The round battery cells have been designed for use in the Neue Klasse platform and play an integral role in the body structure of these vehicles. It varies from model to model, but BMW notes the batteries can be "flexibly integrated" to save space. This also does away with the cell module level.

So how does this compare to Tesla's 4680 batteries? Like BMW's development, Musk's battery cells are also 1.8 inches in diameter. Tesla claims its design boasts a 16% increase in range, for example, and allows for faster charging and reduced costs.


While this all sounds very promising, Tesla is having issues with the production of these batteries. Industry experts told Reuters that the American automaker is struggling to scale up production and reap the benefits of reduced costs. Reportedly, the dry-coating technique used to manufacture the bigger cells in the 4680 battery is still new.

"They just aren't ready for mass production," remarked someone close to the matter. It seems that BMW has prepared for teething problems, and has already awarded contracts out to two firms, which will oversee the construction of Neue Klasse battery cells. Both companies will build two factories in Europe and China. These factories are expected to have a total annual capacity of 20 GWh. Two North American cell factories will follow shortly thereafter.

Through the use of sustainable energy, BMW will also reduce its carbon footprint by 60% through this new manufacturing process. A great proportion of the components used are secondary materials which are, essentially, recycled bits and pieces.


While all this is going on, BMW remains dedicated to solid-state battery technology. The automaker expects to introduce the technology before 2030 and will present a prototype with this system before 2025.

Getting back to the sixth-generation battery cell, Neue Klasse vehicles will have an 800-volt system for the drivetrain, battery, and charging facilities. This will have a phenomenal effect on charging times; topping the batteries up from 10 to 80% will be cut by up to 30%.

Using the new BMW iX as an example, here's what we can expect from the new technology. Capable of charging at a 200-kW charger, the xDrive50 variant can charge from 10 to 80% in 35 minutes. With BMW's claims in mind, we can expect next-gen BMWs to reach 80% in 24 minutes or so.

In terms of range, BMW has used WLTP calculations to arrive at its 30% increase. On this cycle, the iX xDrive50 achieves a claimed maximum range of 391 miles. Therefore, European customers can expect future models to boast a range figure of over 500 miles.

Source Credits: Reuters

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