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BMW’s battery change targets 30% longer range, faster charging with cylindrical cells and cell-to-pack technology

BMW’s future electric vehicles will go further on a single charge, charge faster, and cost less to manufacture.

That’s one of the results from a trove of information from BMW this morning as it detailed its battery strategies for next-generation electric vehicles — including a very different plan for the type of cell that carrier will use: cylindrical battery, like Tesla, Lucid and Rivian.

All because of its debut with its next-generation compact to midsize electric cars called the Neue Klasse and will start in 2025 with a model about the same size as today’s 3-Series.

The cylindrical cells (which BMW calls circular in a release) have a diameter of 46 mm and two different heights that are yet to be revealed. Tesla’s projected 4680 is one of them. With it, BMW emphasizes that the volumetric energy density will be increased by more than 20% compared to the prismatic format it has locked down for current EVs.

Compare 4680 with 2170 - Panasonic

Compare 4680 with 2170 – Panasonic

BMW says that with the combination of these cylindrical cells plus changes to the lithium-ion battery chemistry, it will be possible to significantly increase the range of its range-topping models — up to 30 percent better. %.

One aspect of the battery problem is better

The announcement confirms something surprising change BMW’s battery philosophy have been reported from various sources in recent months. BMW’s then-boss Klaus Fröhlich told this reporter in 2017, when the automaker’s current fifth-generation battery technology was being developed, that we wouldn’t see cylindrical cells. in a BMW without game-changing chemicals, as they are inherently riskier.

Cylindrical cells have evolved step by step since then, and as Tesla pointed out in Battery Day in 2020, the breakthrough for cylindrical cells is more in production, with the potential to generate significant increases in costs.

The model BMW’s Neue Klasse will use cell-to-pack strategy, with the cell modules removed and the package integrated into the body. They will run at 800 volts, with a charging current of up to 500 amps. That will cut charging time from 10% to 80% state of charge by up to 30% according to BMW. inside BMW i4That charge takes 31 minutes officially, so with new technology, for example, it can be reduced to 22 minutes.

CATL . Third Generation Cell Encapsulation Technology

CATL . Third Generation Cell Encapsulation Technology

The automaker also announced its intention to establish battery plants for China, Europe and North America – each with an annual capacity of up to 20 gigawatt-hours. That includes plants with CATL and EVE Energy in China and Europe, and the company said “the plan calls for the construction of two more battery plants in the North American free trade zone, USMCA, which partners have not yet been nominated. “

America’s plan at work

BMW says in 2021 that it will build a future all-electric model in South Carolina. Globally, it currently uses batteries from CATL, Samsung SDI, Northvolt and EVE Energy.

By using more secondary (recovered) materials and renewable energy for production, BMW aims to reduce carbon emissions in the battery production process by up to 60% compared to the current generation of batteries. It is also working to establish circles for battery raw materials and recycling, with certified mines and a closed loop for nickel, lithium and cobalt in China.

LFP battery for some models, battery cost halved

Although all current BMW EVs — i4, iXand iX3 not sold in the US — using the company’s fifth-generation battery technology, the company says that with its upcoming sixth-generation battery technology, there will be an option to use lithium iron-phosphate (LFP) cells ) for the first time, avoid cobalt and nickel in the cathode material.

2021 BMW iX3

2021 BMW iX3

The company says that “based on current market assumptions” it was able through development, manufacturing, and procurement to cut battery costs by up to 50% — an astounding feat. . Furthermore, they say they aim to reduce the cost of producing electric vehicles to the same level as internal combustion vehicles.

BMW also said it will introduce a show car with high voltage all-solid state battery “Before 2025.”

There was also a slight change in the company’s electric vehicle goals in the announcement. Globally, BMW says it aims to have more than two million all-electric vehicles by 2025, and the Neue Klasse “has the potential to further accelerate the market penetration of e-mobility”. It says that with this addition it can be achieved 50% of EV sales before Year 2030.

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