Like many other manufacturers, BMW is developing the battery cell of the future together with its technology partners. In the long term, the solid-state battery could bring new ranges of up to 1,000 kilometers.
BMW i5 / i7, ix and i4 – the current electric vehicles use fifth-generation battery cells. When the vehicles in the so-called new class roll out to customers from 2025, they will not only receive a platform for purely electric models, but also sixth-generation battery cells. These new cells not only mean a switch from prismatic to round cells, but also 30 percent more range and 30 percent faster charging with 60 percent less CO2 emissions. “At the beginning of the process we really started with a blank sheet of paper and were open to all cell formats and sizes,” explains Kurt Vandeputte at BMW Head of Battery Cell Technology, “but given the ambitious goals in terms of performance and safety, we soon came to terms with it the conclusion that the round cell is the best format for our next generation. It also best fits our integration approach for the new class.”
BMW is currently setting up an initial process development line with its technology partner Solid Power in the battery center in Parsdorf near Munich. “On this line we will work – in parallel with our partner in the USA – on the next steps to bring this advanced battery technology into the vehicle,” adds Kurt Vandeputte, “the line will go into operation in the second quarter of 2024.” During As the new, sixth generation of battery cells finds its way into vehicles such as the upcoming BMW 3 Series or the iX3 as models of the new class, customers still have to be patient before the vehicles are on the road with solid-state batteries. “It will take some time,” says Peter Lamp, who has been responsible for the battery sector at BMW for many years, “but realistically we will need a few more years until the technology is mature and ready for industrialization – this will probably only happen towards the end of the decade.”
What is possible with a solid state battery was recently demonstrated by the prototype of a BMW iX, which was powered by a specially developed battery pack from cooperation partner One (Our Next Energy) from Michigan. With one battery charge, the electric luxury SUV covered more than 978 kilometers thanks to the Gemini battery installed in the underbody. This Gemini battery includes two different technologies in one package. The first part of the battery consists of a lithium iron phosphate cell (LFP), which is responsible for the first 240 kilometers and should therefore cover daily journeys. For longer distances, there is the second part of the battery pack, which uses anode-free cells with a particularly high energy density and, in the case of the iX prototype, contributes a further 700 kilometers of long-distance potential.
“The over 600 miles (960 km) that the BMW iX has achieved with Gemini is an impressive demonstration,” says Jürgen Hildinger, Head of High-Voltage Storage at BMW Group. “We are happy to work with the ONE team and look forward to it looking forward to the next steps together.” A two-part battery like the one from Our Next Energy is currently still in the prototype phase because the service life is currently significantly shorter than that of the LFP cells. In addition, the cells cannot deliver as much power to the electric motor and cannot absorb it as quickly – for example during regenerative braking. The one-start-up’s Gemini technology not only offers greater range, but also reduces lithium consumption by up to 20 percent, graphite consumption by 60 percent and minimizes the use of nickel and cobalt. The current Gemini battery from the BMW iX has more than 185 kWh of power and weighs an impressive 710 kilograms with a volume of 411 liters. Maximum power: 345 kW / 469 HP. The next development steps are unlikely to keep it that way.
I’m a recent graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism. I started working as a news reporter for 24 Hours World about two years ago, and I’ve been writing articles ever since. My main focus is automotive news, but I’ve also written about politics, lifestyle, and entertainment.