And vastly reduced charging times.
BMW's upcoming Neue Klasse electric vehicles are set to receive a state-of-the-art battery cell that promises significant 30% enhancements in driving range, a 30% reduction in charging time, and a plethora of other benefits.
Per Automotive News, the upcoming Gen 6 battery that's still under development at BMW Group's Battery Cell Centre of Excellence in Munich, Germany will provide up to 30% greater driving range than the current generation battery found in models like the BMW i7. However, BMW won't let massive batteries give you tons of range at the expensive weight and has promised to cap range at around 600 miles in future models.
One of the new battery's essential features is its cylindrical shape which ditches the modules that are bolted together in the existing battery. Instead, BMW went with a cell-to-pack design that enables additional power-packing cells to be packed together. All told, the Gen 6 battery has a diameter of just 46 millimeters - similar to Tesla's 4680 cells.
"Energy density is much higher than before," said Simon Erhard, a member of the battery's development team. "You can put more cells into the battery pack." Another huge benefit of maximizing energy density is a reduction in both battery cost and weight. How much less expensive? BMW says it's 50% cheaper to produce, a key factor in getting that vital price parity down to the level of combustion-engined vehicles.
The battery pack's cell-to-chassis design is critical because engineers can mount it directly into the vehicle's frame. The result is greater chassis stiffness and improved ride quality. The Neue Klasse models aren't due to arrive until 2025, but we'll get our first glimpse of them sometime next year.
Until then, BMW continues to work on the new battery's design. "The main challenge is to achieve the right compromise between stiffness and flexibility," Erhard added. "The most integrated [design] would be where the vehicle floor is the upper part of the battery pack."
Perhaps the Gen 6 battery's most attractive capability to future owners will be its ability to travel farther on a single charge and its fast charging time. BMW estimates recharging from 10% to 80% will be 30% faster than the existing battery. For reference, the i7 currently takes 34 minutes on DC fast charging, but this could be reduced to under 25 mins with the new battery tech.
Sustainability was another key goal for BMW. The battery uses 50% less cobalt and more nickel and silicon, and the anode has 20% less graphite. The cells can also be produced with renewable energy and some recycled cobalt, nickel, and lithium.
All told, carbon emissions will be cut by 60%. Battery tech innovation, according to Erhard, is peaking and the Neue Klasse vehicles, which can also support combustion-engine models, will hugely benefit from this.