BMW’s “Neue Klasse” (new class) vehicles are due to arrive in 2025, and will be the company’s first vehicles designed from the start to be electric. This means a completely new platform and many new technologies, including 46mm cylindrical battery cells instead of the flat, prismatic cells currently used.
These new batteries will give BMW electric vehicles a range of “30% or more” than is currently available, according to Thomas Albrecht, head of BMW Efficient Dynamics.
He told Autocar UK that should put the Gen6 batteries at around 1,000km of range, which is the maximum BMW will offer, “although we can… We don’t think such a long range is necessary .”
Considering that most combustion vehicles don’t exceed 1000km of range, that’s not the weirdest thing to say. And, since charging time with the new cells will also decrease by up to 30% with support for 800-volt fast charging at up to 270kW, the pain of waiting an hour to charge your car will be significantly reduced.
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Gen6 batteries will use different chemistry as well as the new cell shape, relying more on nickel than cobalt in an effort to reduce factory emissions, as well as recycled materials and green energy. BMW will build six new factories for its battery needs, with a target of reducing CO2 production by 60%.
It will not switch to lithium iron phosphate in its battery construction, although the option remains open. No mention was made of solid state or other future battery designs, although BMW was tipped to have solid state test cells in early 2022.
Marie-Thérèse von Srbik, Head of Battery Cell Development at BMW, said: “We always aim for cyclic life with the metals in our batteries. We even managed to achieve our first closed loop with one of our manufacturers in China.
“But overall it’s a very long loop. Batteries are long-lived, and you have to think of a whole new industry in the meantime, but we may eventually come to a point where most if not all of the precious metals in our batteries can come from recycled sources.
More information on BMW’s environmental plans will be disclosed with the upcoming “Battery Carbon Footprint Statement”, which is expected to come into effect from 2024.
Albrecht also gave a hint about battery longevity, saying, “Legislation is coming to further guarantee battery life. For example, the United States will require a minimum battery performance of 80% after 10 years. We do better than that.
The first Neue Klasse cars will arrive in 2025, starting with an electric version of the 3 Series.