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    Large round cells like Tesla, also with LFP: New BMW strategy for electric cars from 2025

    Sep 09,2022 | Tesmag

    There were numerous rumors about this before, and now BMW has confirmed them and added further information: The company's next generation of electric cars, known as the New Class, will use round battery cells, at least half of them in a format known from Tesla. Thanks to higher density and new technology, the 46xx batteries should cost 50 percent less than those previously used. However, BMW does not want to produce them itself, but with partners. With CATL and Eve Energy, these have already been found for four of the six planned factories.

    Optimized BMW chemistry half in Tesla format

    The three companies involved announced this in part on Friday. In its announcement, BMW writes of a newly developed sixth generation of its own lithium-ion cells as a "huge technological leap". The energy density should increase by more than 20 percent, the charging speed by 30 percent and the range by 30 percent, probably in comparison to the current BMW electric cars i4 and iX. New integration concepts are also expected to reduce costs by up to 50 percent.

    The cell format and chemistry have been fundamentally optimized and designed specifically for the new class from 2025, BMW writes of itself in September 2020 as the basis for its own production. Instead of always 80 millimeters as with Tesla, BMW wants to use two different heights but does not name them specifically.

    Inside, the proportion of nickel in the cathode should be higher and that of cobalt lower and the anode should contain more silicon, the German company has now announced. The new electric cars coming from 2025 should charge with 800 volts and up to 500 amperes, i.e. 400 kilowatts. At the more economical end of its range, BMW, like Tesla before it and then more and more other Western manufacturers, also wants to use LFP chemistry for its new batteries, which do not require nickel and cobalt.

    Billions in orders for CATL and Eve from China

    Completely own battery production is not planned at BMW despite the emphasis on the own development contribution, but a close connection to partners. Together with them, BMW wants to set up battery factories at six locations, each with an annual capacity of 20-gigawatt hours. The first two partners are the world market leader CATL and the smaller manufacturer Eve Energy, who have already received orders in the double-digit billion range. According to BMW, both are building two factories each in Asia and Europe, i.e. four of the planned six. Partners for the remaining two in North America will be named later.

    In a statement from CATL on the same subject, BMW is described as the Chinese company's "special and primary partner". We are very happy to extend the partnership forged over the past eleven years to the new class from 2025. CATL recently introduced a new battery technology called Qilin, emphasizing that it is superior to Tesla's 4680 concept. It was speculated beforehand that BMW would make use of it, but as it turned out, the cells in the highly integrated Qilin packages appear to be angular. In parallel, CATL has been working on 4680 batteries since at least 2021, as has Eve Energy as the second 46xx contract manufacturer for BMW from China.

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