The goal is clear: It is to build the world’s greenest electric vehicle. To this end, the BMW Group is developing groundbreaking lithium-ion cell technology for the New Class.
The next big step has been taken: Through the rapid development of cell technology, the BMW Group is strengthening its battery competence and accelerating the advancement of electric mobility. This significant objective is reflected in the New Class, a new generation of vehicles first presented by the BMW Group in March 2021. For this New Class, which features all-electric drive systems and is due to be launched at the middle of this decade, the BMW Group is already in the process of developing the next generation of its battery technology.
At the handing over of the subsidy contract pertaining to the battery IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest), Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Executive Board of the BMW AG, stressed how tremendously important the New Class was for the future of electric mobility
“With the New Class, we will be taking a giant technological leap in the field of electric drive systems,” Zipse points out: “We aim to significantly increase the energy density of the cells and, at the same time, lower the cost of material input and production. We will also reduce the use of primary materials considerably in order to ensure the production of a truly “green” battery.“ By the end of the decade, it is intended to increase the energy density of battery cells by at least a medium double-digit percentage – starting from today’s already high level.
Sustainable energy storage as the key to success
During the comprehensive engagement within the framework of the two IPCEIs (Important Projects of Common European Interest), the BMW Group is developing sustainable, function-optimised and cost-efficient battery cells as the key element of a European cell and battery value chain. A project with this amount of global impact – both ecologically and economically – does, of course, require strong and trustworthy partners. Therefore, Oliver Zipse was recently presented with a subsidy grant by Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economics and Energy, as well as Hubert Aiwanger, Bavarian Minister of State for Economics, State Development and Energy. Both ministries support the project within the framework of the European IPCEI subsidy programme.
Thanks to the joint European projects, it has been possible to successfully establish the battery value chain in Germany and Europe and to secure sustainable jobs. We support BMW with two concrete projects in the battery storage sector, both of them being crucial for the further development of electric mobility in Germany.
The goal: Green, low-carbon, regenerative batteries
The extensive commitment in the development and evaluation of innovative cell formats, cell chemistry and cell modules, constitutes a vast potential in the field of global battery technology. Therefore, the BMW Group defines highly efficient and sustainable energy storage as the key success factor for the future of individual mobility.
For the market launch of the New Class, for instance, the aim is to achieve decisive criteria such as range and production costs that match those of modern combustion engines. This is to attract new target groups with state-of-the-art electric mobility “engineered by BMW” – and, above all, to convince in ecological terms. After all, the major, overriding goal of the entire BMW Group project is the development of green, low-carbon, regenerative batteries – for the world’s greenest electric vehicle.
Current models demonstrate battery competence
The battery cell technology featured in current BMW models is proof that the intensive research carried out by the BMW Group is now already profoundly optimising the electric mobility sector: For example, it was possible to significantly reduce the proportion of cobalt in the cathode material from 33% to 10 % during the transition from generation 3 of the BMW i3 to generation 5 of the BMW iX3 introduced in 2020. The amount of nickel was increased to around 80 percent at the same time. In order to minimise the consumption of primary resources, the amount of recycled nickel used in the high-voltage storage unit of the new BMW iX is already as high as 50%. In 2023, the BMW Group will already be putting around a dozen all-electric models on the road. In addition to the BMW i3, the MINI Cooper SE and the BMW iX3 already on the market, two major innovators, the BMW iX and the BMW i4, are due to be launched this year – the BMW i4 even three months earlier than originally planned.
Ten million all-electric vehicles by 2030
By 2025, the BMW Group will have boosted sales of all-electric models by an average of well over 50% annually – a more than tenfold increase compared to the year 2020. By the end of 2025, the company will have delivered a total of around two million all-electric vehicles to customers.
Current market expectations predict that all-electric vehicles will account for at least 50 percent of their worldwide sales by the year 2030. In the next years, the BMW Group will be putting approximately a total of about ten million all-electric vehicles on the road. Consequently, the BMW Group is strategically on target in also achieving the EU’s ambitious CO2 reduction goals in 2025 and 2030.
Focus on the next generation
For the BMW Group, sustainable action begins with farsighted thinking. For this reason, the further course of the cell and battery value chain is already clear today: Following the development of a new generation of lithium-ion cells, as well as an innovative battery module and battery system concept during the first IPCEI, the focus for the second IPCEI is on the development of the next but one generation of lithium-ion cells and the optimisation of processor technologies, as well as the setting up of a prototype production facility for innovative battery modules and systems.
With this and many other innovations, the BMW Group is significantly paving the way for the successful development of batteries throughout Europe – for a green Europe.