BMW is busy working on the next generation of electric vehicles, which will start arriving in the middle of this decade. Part of the automaker’s so-called Neue Klasse (New Class) – a new platform and new technology family – are new batteries that will offer up to 30 percent more range than current BMW models. We’ll talk about the numbers in a moment, but first, let’s take a look at the company’s new battery technology.
For the Neue Klasse, BMW will introduce its sixth-generation electric drive technology, which will use a new battery. The Bavarian manufacturer will essentially redesign the cell format and switch its battery cell chemistry to spherical cells designed specifically for use in vehicles based on the Neue Klasse architecture. This new spherical cell will replace the prismatic cell currently used by BMW.
Looking deeper into the designs of the new battery cells, the company says they will have a diameter of 46 millimeters and two different heights available depending on their application. The chemistry of the cell will include more nickel content on the cathode side, while the cobalt content will be reduced. On the anode side, in turn, the silicon content will increase and the new chemistry will result in more than 20 percent higher volumetric energy density.
Among other changes, Neue Klasse will also introduce an 800-volt electrical system, which further optimizes how energy is supplied to DC fast charging stations. BMW promises this will reduce charging times from 10 to 80 percent by around 30 percent.
Speaking of charging, it’s also worth mentioning that the company is also promising 30 percent more range thanks to the new batteries in its vehicles that have the highest range. Also – and that is probably much more important – the automaker estimates that battery prices will be reduced by up to 50 percent compared to current fifth-generation batteries.
To secure the production of the batteries needed for Neue Klasse-based vehicles, BMW will open new battery factories in Europe and China with a projected total annual capacity of up to 20 GWh. Two more cell factories will be built in North America but no partners have been nominated yet.