In March, BMW presented the Neue Klasse generation of vehicles, to be launched by the middle of this decade, which will be clearly focused on all-electric drivetrains. For the Neue Klasse, the BMW Group is developing the next generation of its battery technology. (Earlier post.)
With the Neue Klasse, we will make a big leap in technology in electric drive. We want to significantly increase the energy density of the cells and reduce the costs of material use and production at the same time. We will also significantly reduce the use of primary material to ensure a truly 'green' battery.—Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG
With the Neue Klasse, the BMW Group is aiming at the level of state-of-the-art internal combustion engines in terms of range and manufacturing costs. For example, electric mobility “engineered by BMW” is intended to appeal to and convince new groups of buyers worldwide. For this sixth generation of BMW e-drive technology, the company is evaluating correspondingly different cell formats, cell chemistry and also cell modules in the current development phase. A key goal is to create truly green, low-carbon and recyclable batteries.
However, the BMW Group is already planning further into the future beyond this next generation: By the end of the decade, the energy density of battery cells is expected to increase by at least a mid-double-digit percentage range.
The greenest electric car in the world will be a BMW—sustainable from the initial idea to recycling after its use phase. We are developing the battery cell of the future: it will be powerful, safe, cost-effective, and recyclable—from material selection to recyclability after the use in the vehicle. All of this will be created in a European value chain.
By the end of the decade, we will be implementing an automotive-compatible solid-state battery for series production. We plan to show a first demonstrator vehicle featuring this technology well before 2025.—Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development
The BMW Group has had extensive in-house expertise in the complete value chain of electric drive for years and has optimized its battery cell technology from generation to generation. Cell chemistry has also been consistently further developed: for example, the proportion of cobalt in cathode material in the transition from Gen3 from the BMW i3 to Gen5, which was introduced in 2020 with the BMW iX3, was significantly reduced from 33% to 10%. At the same time, the nickel content rose to around 80%. In order to minimize the consumption of primary resources, up to 50% recycled nickel is already used in the high-voltage battery pack of the new BMW iX.
IPCEI. Within the framework of the two battery IPCEI (Important Projects of Common European Interest), the BMW Group is developing highly innovative, sustainable, function-optimized and cost-effective battery cells as a key element of a European cell and battery value chain.
The Federal Ministry of Economics and the Bavarian State Ministry for Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy, support the project within the framework of the European funding process IPCEI.
With the joint European projects, we have successfully built up the battery value chain in Germany and Europe and secured sustainable jobs. We support BMW in two concrete projects in the field of battery technology. Both projects are central to the further expansion of electromobility in Germany.—Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister of Economics and Energy
The development of battery cells is an ideal fit for Bavaria’s automotive industry and tech-industry as a whole. Bavaria is supporting this IPCEI project from BMW with co-financing in order to secure added value in a central high-tech field with great future potential. Because electromobility is becoming increasingly important, we have to produce the battery cells needed here in Germany, preferably in Bavaria. Our aim must be to participate economically in this climate-friendly technology and to make Europe more independent of suppliers from third countries.—Hubert Aiwanger, Bavaria’s Minister of Economic Affairs
Following the development of a next generation of lithium-ion cells as well as an innovative battery module and battery system concept in the first IPCEI, the focus of BMW’s work in the second IPCEI is on the development of the next generation of lithium-ion cells, the development and optimization of process technologies as well as the construction of a prototype production plant for innovative battery modules and systems.
The BMW Group is also focusing on the recycling and the recyclability of battery materials, with the main aim of achieving a fully cyclable battery.
Through the research and validation of future technologies such as all solid-state batteries (ASSB), the company not only strengthens its own competence, but also the industrial location Germany. The BMW Group sees ASSB technology as a game changer in the automotive field.
Following the holistic approach of a closed innovation and development cycle, BMW will develop innovative products from the areas of battery cell as well as battery modules and systems with a focus on improved functionality and a significantly improved cost structure. The recycling and the usability of the batteries after their automotive use are also taken into account.
The research results achieved by the BMW Group and the partners involved in the IPCEI project strengthen the development of an integrated European battery value chain. In addition, various concepts for solid-state batteries are being researched together with European R&D partners and the most promising prototype is being implemented.