Whilst new battery tech can be a tad dry of a subject, it’s an important step forward for BMW and in its entirety; the Neue Klasse era that BMW is introducing will also see costs and environmental impact tumble, and production ramp up. Furthermore, BMW’s existing Gen5 battery tech isn’t exactly the most efficient compared to rivals, so it comes as a relief that there’s better news on the horizon.
Central to the New Klasse vehicles is the Gen6 batteries which gain a new cell format and chemistry. Gen6 cells will be round with a standard diameter of 46mm which is good news for packaging and flexibility. In fact, BMW will be doing away with bulky cell modules altogether.
Chemistry-wise, nickel content is higher on the cathode side whilst cobalt content is reduced – good news for the environment. On the anode side, silicon content is also increased. In layman’s terms, this means overall energy density is improved by more than 20 per cent which, in combination with greater flexibility of packaging, would see a 30 per cent increase in range of the highest range model.
Theoretically, BMW could make cars with well over 620 miles (1000km) of range using Gen6 batteries, but there’s no appetite within the brand to breach that marker.
The final benefit of Gen6 batteries for Neue Klasse cars is in reduced charging times. Like the Porsche Taycan and – when required – the Hyundai IONIQ 5 and Kia EV6 – BMW’s Gen6 batteries will run at 800 volts, making them capable of taking on charge at up to 500 amperes. This would see a 30 per cent reduction in charging time between 10 and 80 per cent.
BMW hasn’t just been looking at the performance of its batteries; alongside this, it is developing its manufacturing methods to reduce CO2 and increase the use of recycled materials. New cells will include a percentage of secondary materials – i.e. cobalt, lithium or nickel which is already in the so-called production loop. Down the line, BMW hopes that these circular loops will continue to reduce the need for new raw materials and it is already creating a closed loop system for cell production in China.
Another factor aiding BMW in improving its environmental credentials is the fact that its battery cell production utilises only green power. It reckons that it can reduce the carbon footprint of battery production by 60 per cent compared to the current Gen5 cells.
The final piece of the puzzle is battery production itself. Already, BMW has awarded contracts for the production of Gen6 cells to CATL and EVE Energy, which will build two gigafactories in China and Europe, each of which will have a production capacity of 20GWh. Beyond this, BMW plans to build two more factories in North America, supplying that market with enough capacity for the Neue Klasse of EVs hitting the market from 2025 onwards.
All of this feeds into BMW’s strategic goal of having 50 per cent of its global deliveries as EVs by 2030, which it set out last spring.
After just two years Genesis has successfully established itself in EuropeRead news
MINI Countryman Electric on its way as production starts this yearRead news
Almost all Nissan sales in Europe to be full EV or hybrid by 2026Read news