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BMW Selects SB LiMotive for Li-ion Batteries for Megacity EV

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.


Henry Gibson

It has been over fifteen years since the ZEBRA battery only gave 85 watt hours per kilogram. It is about 120 now for the TH!NK.

No! No!! No!!! that is NO full electric automobiles should be allowed to be sold. Range extenders allow the purchase of a smaller cheaper battery. If necessary they can be fueled with certified Zero carbon biofuels. The range extender will not be used much for most vehicles. The big or small battery will also not be used very much so it can be cheaper and smaller. For many of these cars (with range extenders) special lead batteries at a very low cost can be used. EFFPOWER bipolar lead batteries can have additional capacity added to be used in such vehicles.

When a small engine is designed to operate at a constant speed, it can be designed for the best power and efficiency. Efficiency is not a big issue for most range extended plug-in-hybrid cars because the engine will be used a small percentage of the time, and even if it were used constantly, the efficiency will be higher than the usual average engine used for a similar car.

Modern technology will allow for a small low weight range extender. For busses and trucks, microturbines are very suitable, and we now see some tried in cars. It is much easier to sell a car with a jet engine than one with an equivalent single cylinder free piston engine. ..HG..


HG, you are absolutely correct. My prediction: When gas prices go back up and manufacturers actually try to sell to the masses, I think we will quickly see a PHEV with 10-20 mile all electric range and a range extender. It will be affordable and cut fuel usage by 90% for most drivers.


i don't understand what's wrong with all-electric vehicles. There is a perfectly good use for these, as long as the limited range is understood.
The added complexity and expense of adding a range extender is not ALWAYS justified. What we need is a rock-bottom priced EV.


EVs with ICE range extenders may be required, as a short term (up to 10 years) transition period, to go from ICE to BEVs for most vehicles.

Long haul vehicles could be PHEVs for an extended time frame, specially with lower cost future fuel cells or clean fuel gensets.

However, cars, light trucks and most city vehicles could be BEVs as soon as very high performance batteries and super caps; such as lithium-air battery + EEStor ESSUs combo become available or are mass produced. That come be much sooner than we think and as early as 2015/2016.


Like most other things it seems smart to put out a variety of propulsion designs that save or eliminate fossil fuel use. Then, see what works best. Time and hundreds of thousands of test systems should ferret out the best.

I'd like to see how a Stirling burning NG/H2 powering the genset would do.

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