BMW’s Wonderful Strong-State EV Battery Journey


The mud has but to decide on solid-state expertise, a comparatively new growth within the EV battery area that guarantees longer vary and quicker charging. Some advocates argue {that a} semi-solid method is one of the best ways to go, somewhat than betting the ranch on undeveloped expertise. BMW is amongst a bunch that has seen sufficient proof, and it has simply introduced one other milestone in its solid-state EV battery plans.

Constructing A Higher EV Battery

Typical lithium-ion expertise has been shouldering the EV battery load for nearly 15 years. Throughout that point battery prices have plummeted, vary has lengthened, and charging instances have shortened.

However, automakers have been wanting round for the following large factor, and solid-state expertise is it. Advocates declare a major enchancment in efficiency when the liquid electrolyte in an EV battery is changed with a strong one, together with security enhancements.

Automakers that goal to shine up their sustainability profile are additionally anticipating lifecycle enhancements for solid-state expertise, together with end-of-life recycling. That depends upon the battery design, however solid-state batteries have a head begin on the sustainability facet as a result of they are often designed from the bottom as much as optimize end-of-life supplies restoration.

That explains why BMW connected with Ford in Could of 2021 to offer the US solid-state battery agency Strong Energy with an infusion of $130 million in Collection B funding.

BMW Not Giving Up On Liquid Electrolyte, But

Whereas pursuing the following large factor in EV batteries, BMW has additionally been leveling up standard lithium-ion expertise to maintain tempo with curiosity in its electrical automobile lineup.

Final September, the BMW Group introduced that its Neue Klasse electrical automobiles will sport new batteries starting in 2025, billing them because the sixth era of its lithium-ion cells.

“In comparison with the prismatic cells of the fifth BMW battery cell era, the nickel content material within the sixth-generation BMW spherical cells is greater on the cathode facet, whereas the cobalt content material is lowered. On the anode facet, the silicon content material will probably be elevated,” the corporate defined.

“The newly-developed sixth era of our lithium-ion cells will convey an enormous leap in expertise that may enhance power density by greater than 20 p.c and pace up charging time by as much as 30%, whereas growing battery vary by as much as 30%.”

The rise in efficiency has not come at a value. As a substitute of including expense, BMW offers itself props for attaining a major minimize in EV battery prices.

“… the workforce from growth, manufacturing and buying has been in a position to considerably scale back prices for the high-voltage battery, because of the brand new battery cell and new integration idea for battery expertise developed by BMW,” the corporate said. As for the way a lot, BMW is anticipating a 50% drop in prices primarily based on the present state of affairs within the automotive market.

On the sustainability facet, BMW additionally famous that manufacturing of the brand new cells entails decreasing carbon emissions by as much as 60%, partly by finding its factories the place clear energy is accessible.

Remind Us Why We Want A Strong-State EV Battery

Gilding the sixth-generation EV battery lily is an area saving structure that present BMW’s design workforce with new alternatives to combine battery preparations with different design and engineering components.

All of those enhancements lead one to marvel why BMW wants solid-state EV batteries in any respect. One good reply is that everybody else is pursuing them. Together with Ford, Stellantis and different established automakers, that features up-and-comers within the automobile electrification area like Vinfast.

For the file, Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard can be a fan, as is the US Division of Power.

The Power Division’s leading edge funding workplace, ARPA-E, issued this explainer again in 2013:

“Modern approaches to EV battery manufacturing current the chance to maximise saved power relative to the burden of EVs, permitting for as much as thrice the driving vary. These new battery chemistries and designs stop overheating, are proof against catastrophic failure, and could be integrated into the construction of a automobile to enhance energy in some instances. A lot of this may be completed at a 30% decrease price in comparison with standard batteries, thus bolstering widespread adoption of EVs.”

Enhancements in standard lithium-ion expertise have altered the calculation to a point, however ARPA-E has continued to push the envelope on the solid-state EV battery of the longer term, and Strong Energy is among the many US corporations tapped for a monetary help.

Earlier this month, ARPA-E offered Strong Energy with an award of as much as $5.6  million to proceed its R&D work on solid-state batteries. The brand new EV battery incorporates no nickel or cobalt, which is a large plus on the provision chain finish. As a substitute, it depends on a lithium metallic anode and a cathode that consists of a sulfur composite, resulting in decrease prices together with efficiency enhancements.

BMW Performs The Lengthy Recreation On EV Batteries

Contemplating the newest information from Strong Energy, it’s no marvel that BMW has jumped on the probability to set the wheels in movement for business manufacturing. Final week, the corporate introduced that it has engaged Strong Energy in an R&D license, which offers for BMW to determine a strong state prototype line at its Cell Manufacturing Competence Heart in Germany.

“The broadened relationship offers important advantages to each corporations, together with conducting complementary cell growth and manufacturing actions at each Strong Energy and the BMW Group to additional advance all-solid-state cell design and manufacturing know-how,” BMW defined.

Frank Weber, who’s the Member of the BMW Board of Administration for Growth, confirmed that BMW has a long run outlook on the road-worthiness of all-solid state EV batteries and doesn’t intend to go midway to semi-solid.

“BMW stays dedicated to the pursuit of all-solid-state batteries, a expertise which we consider has important potential for the longer term,” he mentioned, including that the brand new relationship with Strong Energy will “speed up the set up of our solid-state prototype line and our corporations’ mutual objective of commercializing this promising cell expertise.”

Subsequent steps embody delivering test-sized cells to BMW later this 12 months. In final week’s announcement, BMW additionally affirmed that its new sixth-generation batteries will proceed to play a task in its electrification plans. The group aiming for 50% of whole gross sales to be totally electrical earlier than 2030, with Mini and Rolls-Royce going 100% electrical on the flip of the last decade or shortly thereafter.

As for Ford, the corporate is enjoying its relationship with Strong Energy a bit of nearer to the vest. Like BMW, Ford seems to be working the lengthy sport in direction of all solid-state batteries, whereas persevering with to introduce improved iterations of standard lithium-ion expertise, with a deal with a lithium iron phosphate formulation.

Comply with me on Trainwreck Twitter @TinaMCasey.

Discover me on LinkedIn: @TinaMCasey or Mastodon: @Casey or Submit:  @tinamcasey

Photograph (screenshot): New solid-state batteries for electrical automobiles EV courtesy of BMW Group.




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