BMW has selected SB LiMotive—the 50:50 joint venture between Bosch and Samsung SDI (earlier post)—as a supplier for Li-ion batteries for the upcoming Megacity vehicle, an electric city vehicle planned for the first half of the next decade (earlier post).
The Megacity vehicles, with a pure electric drive or an extremely efficient combustion engine, are to be the first of a whole family of very-low-emission vehicles, Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Management Board of BMW, said during the annual meeting in Munich in May.
The BMW Group is organizing its electrical and urban mobility efforts within project i, an initiative from its Number ONE strategy. The first output of project i was the MINI E, which is currently in a large-scale field trial with about 600 vehicles in the US, UK, and Germany. Data resulting from the trials will be used in the development of the Megacity vehicle, BMW said. The MINI E is powered by a drive system and battery pack from AC Propulsion. (Earlier post.)
Formed in 2008, SB LiMotive is due to begin production next year. According to a briefing by Dr. Joachim Fetzer, Executive Vice President, SB LiMotive, earlier in July (earlier post), the company is focused on optimizing the cell chemistry, with goals of a power density of more than 4,000 W/kg by 2012 for hybrid applications and an energy density greater than 150 Wh/kg for electric car applications—a 30-40% improvement in the key performance indicators of lithium-ion batteries within 3 years.
Current Li-ion cells for hybrids deliver about 85 Wh/kg of specific energy, while cells for electric vehicles deliver about 110 Wh/kg, Fetzer said.
SB LiMotive expects is will be able to produce a battery pack for about €350 (US$500) per kWh by 2015, or about two-thirds of the current cost.