BMW readies new battery tech for future EVs

    Next-gen BMW batteries for EVs will be called Gen6; will have more efficient cylindrical cells, among other tweaks.

    Published On Sep 16, 2022 02:19:00 PM

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    BMW has begun work on its next-gen battery tech for its EVs, called Gen6. This battery tech will be available in the Neue Klasse (New Class) series of cars from 2025, and adopt a cylindrical cell shape – as favoured by Tesla – rather than the flat, prismatic cell shape currently in use.

    • New BMW Battery tech could provide up to 1,000km range
    • Will reduce CO2 released during production by 60 percent
    • Will have better charging rates and cylindrical cells

    BMW new EV battery tech: what’s to know?

    Thomas Albrecht, BMW’s head of Efficient Dynamics, told our sister publication Autocar UK, “Gen6 batteries will give us 30 percent or more range than our current Gen5, but we won’t go over 1,000km [620 miles] of range, even though we can. We don’t think that such a long range is necessary.” DC rapid-charging time is also set to be improved by up to 30 percent, which means the Gen6 era of BMWs will be able to support ultra-rapid charging of around 270kW – on par with the Porsche Taycan.

    It’s also estimated that the Gen6 battery packs could weigh 10-20 percent less than the existing Gen5 batteries, which weigh roughly 300kg for a mid-range pack. The forthcoming Gen6 cylindrical cells use a unique BMW chemistry. They measure 46mm in diameter and are either 95mm or 120mm in height. Using less cobalt but more nickel, they will be sourced from Chinese battery manufacturers CATL and EV, and are ultimately an evolution of the conventional lithium-ion chemistry that's common in today’s EVs.

    The change in cell shape has also brought about a new battery-pack design that's slimmer and allows for a more versatile ‘pack-to-open-body’ installation process, whereby the battery essentially becomes an integral part of the car’s structure.

    Marie-Therese von Srbik, head of battery cell development at BMW, said: “With this next generation of battery, we will be much more flexible with how we integrate the cell. The whole vehicle is becoming more adaptive towards that.”

    Company experts wouldn’t be drawn on the longevity of the new batteries, but Albrecht confirmed: “Legislation is coming in to further guarantee battery life. For instance, the US will require a minimum 80 percent battery performance after 10 years. We're performing better than that.”

    To cope with demand for the new Gen6 batteries, BMW plans six new battery plants in Canada, China, Europe, Mexico and the US. These will be located close to existing car-production facilities in order to reduce transportation needs.

    Benefits of the new tech

    There are financial benefits too as BMW estimates that the changes in battery design and manufacturing process will result in production costs falling by some 50 percent – a big saving, given that currently the battery accounts for around 40 percent of the whole cost of an EV.

    Those same changes, which include a push towards completely renewable energy in all of BMW's facilities and in those of its third-party suppliers, are also said to result in a 60 percent reduction in the CO2 created during production.

    Recyclability is also a focus for BMW. Von Srbik explained: “We're still aiming for a cyclical life with the metals in our batteries. We’ve even managed to achieve our first closed loop with one of our manufacturers in China. But overall it’s a very long loop. Batteries have a long life, and you have to think about a whole new industry in the meantime, but we can eventually get to a point where most, if not all, of the precious metals in our batteries can be from recycled sources.”

    Gen6 batteries will be used by all BMW Group brands, ranging from Rolls-Royce to BMW to Mini, following their introduction in 2025.

    BMW currently sells the i4 electric sedan and the iX electric SUV in India.

    Also See:

    650hp XM, BMW's most powerful car ever, to debut on September 27

    BMW X4 M Sport 50 Jahre M Edition launched at Rs 72.90 lakh

    BMW M quad-motor EV prototype revealed

    BMW Cars

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