New advisory body to coordinate transportation planning in Athabasca oil sands region
DOE extends closing date for RFI on Total Costs of Ownership of Future Light-Duty Vehicles

A123 Systems supplying Li-ion batteries for new BMW ActiveHybrid 3 and ActiveHybrid 5 models

A123 Systems is providing Li-ion battery cells for the new BMW ActiveHybrid 3 (earlier post) and ActiveHybrid 5 (earlier post) models to be shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week. (BMW is doing the Li-ion pack work itself.) Both models, which use a similar powertrain, are due to go on sale in the US in 2012. A123 Systems had earlier said that it was involved in BMW production programs. (Earlier post.)

A123 is supplying its 32113 cylindrical power batteries for the applications. Designed for hybrid applications using the high-power M1Ultra electrode design, the cylindrical AHR32113 M1Ultra-B cell has a power density of more than 2700 W/kg and 6000 W/L, with nominal discharge power of 550 W. Nominal voltage is 3.3V, nominal capacity is 4.5Ah, and energy capacity is 14.6 Wh.

Screen Shot 2012-01-06 at 10.05.02 AM
10s pulse power capability at 23°C, using FreedomCAR HPPC. Click to enlarge.

In the ActiveHybrid 5, the high-voltage battery pack is encased in a special high-strength housing and positioned between the wheel arches in the luggage area. It consists of 96 cells, has its own cooling system and offers usable energy capacity of 675 Wh.

The integration of the lithium-ion battery into the luggage area reduces the load capacity of the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 to 375 liters, 145 liters lower than that of a BMW 5 Series Sedan variant powered purely by a combustion engine.

The lithium-ion high-voltage battery can store sufficient energy to give an all-electric driving range of up to four kilometers (approx. 2.5 miles) at an average speed of 35 km/h (22 mph).



After 15+ years, those two (HEVs ??) to not have much more e-range than a Prius III. The learning curve is rather slow?


I'll bet it has more to do with differences in weight and aerodynamics. For example, a BMW 5 weighs over 500kg more than a Prius.


BMW needs to build a real EV if they are to stay in the auto game. Otherwise they forfeit the market for lux EVs to Tesla.

The transition to low, low cost electricity is already underway. Who will buy or drive an old ICE average $4-5/gallon - when they can pay $.50 - $1.00 for equivalent electric energy???


I'd be willing to bet that both the 3 and 5 have significantly higher performance metrics than the Prius.


BMW is building EVs -- their "i" sub-brand. Their ActiveE BEV (based on 1-series coupe) is starting leasing this month in select markets. Their aluminum and carbon fiber i3 BEV goes into production in 2013 (production prototypes with more normal doors than the concept, have been spy-photographed being tested; the i3 concept cars have been around for awhile). The i3 will weight under 2800 pounds with a 170 hp/184 lb-ft motor. The exotic i8 hybrid goes on sale in 2014, and was featured in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Other follow-on BEV models are in the pipeline.

See and


I think it is interesting to see A123 and Toshiba getting more and more design wins. They both have weaknesses, particularly in the power density. But they have two things in common:
1) high power density (I think this is important with relatively smaller packs so they can still provide a lot of power)
2) Safety. After the Volt and other fears, mostly imagined, about batteries being dangerous or catching fire, I think they believe they need to go for something perceived as a "safer" battery.


If BMW chose A123 is means that in the end they have made progress concerning batteries ...
A lot of research has finally become competitive product and this is good to the market and prices of batteries.


I wonder if this means they will go for A123 in the i3 and i8?
Quite a win for the company if this is the case!


I wonder will BMW start to hybridize more of their cars.
These are both high power, high end models.

Will they ever hybridize the 2.0L diesels (as an option) ?

These sell very well in Europe and get up to 62 mpg(UK) [520d Efficient dynamics].

I wonder is it even worth hybridizing them as their fuel consumption is already so low.


I'd expect to see BMW start using A123 (or similar) batteries in place of AGM/Lead Acid batteries for mainstream production vehicles. It's a source of relatively cheap "light weighting" that is important to a performance-oriented brand such as BMW. Such mass acceptance would help A123 scale production, thus lowering cost and leading to higher acceptance in a virtuous cycle.


A 'normal' ICE has a starter, alternator and battery since a lot of them are moving towards stop start and smart alternator etc it makes sense to beef them up a bit, and if you doing this you may as well combine them into one larger motor either belt driven or integrated. I can see a simple drive train with a small motor added to the crankshaft, and another in place of the torque converter on a 6-8 speed automatic mated to a slightly larger li-ion battery in place of the normal one.


particularly in the power density

You might have meant energy density. Toshiba has lower energy density and higher power density I think. It is a trade off and each manufacturer will decide what they think is best.

The comments to this entry are closed.