BMW has unveiled its newly developed sixth-gen battery that will be used for the first time in the Neue Klasse starting from 2025. Boasting new round battery cells instead of the prism-shaped cells in the fifth-generation batteries, BMW says the new batteries provide a longer driving range and are faster to charge.
The Neue Klasse will be spearheaded by an electric version of the BMW 3 series and a new version of the BMW iX3. With the sixth-gen BMW battery, the Neue Klasse is set to gain an array of advantages:
• 30% longer range
• 30% shorter charging time
• 20% higher energy density
• 60% less emissions for battery production
• 50% lower cost
Credit is due to the new cell format and enhanced cell chemistry. There is higher nickel content on the cathode side, lower overall cobalt content, and increased silicon content on the anode side. The round cells are 46 mm in diameter and come in two different heights.
Another advantage of the sixth-generation battery is that it can be flexibly integrated into the body, thus eliminating the cell module level. The Neue Klasse will be built with an 800 V architecture that can support 500 A charging.
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BMW AG member of the Board of Management responsible for Development, Frank Weber said, “The newly developed sixth generation of our lithium-ion cells will bring a huge leap in technology that will increase energy density by more than 20%, improve charging speed by up to 30% and enhance range by up to 30%. We are also reducing CO2 emissions from cell production by up to 60%. These are big steps for sustainability and customer benefits.”
The BMW Group has set itself the goal of bringing manufacturing costs for fully-electric models down to the same level as vehicles with state-of-the-art combustion-engine technology.
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BMW AG member of the Board of Management responsible for Purchasing and Supplier Network, Joachim Post said, “To meet our long-term needs, we will be building battery cell factories with our partners, each with an annual capacity of up to 20 GWh, at six locations in key markets for us: two in China, two in Europe and two in USMCA.”
“We have also reached agreement with our partners that they will use a percentage of secondary material for the raw materials lithium, cobalt, and nickel, as well as utilising green power for production, to ensure CO2-reduced manufacturing.”
Concerning battery production, BMW AG has awarded contracts worth above ten billion Euros for the production of BMW battery cells. For BMW batteries, CATL and EVE Energy will both build two gigafactories in China and Europe with each factory having a total annual capacity 20 GWh. Two more battery cell factories are planned in the North American free trade zone.
Regarding future battery technology and the supply of raw materials, BMW says the sixth-generation battery technology also offers the option of using cathodes made of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) for the first time. This means the critical raw materials (cobalt and nickel) can then be avoided entirely in the cathode material. In parallel, the BMW Group is also pushing forward with the development of all-solid-state batteries (ASSBs).