BMW has announced details of its next-generation lithium ion batteries for EVs, named Gen6.
Thomas Albrecht, BMW’s head of Efficient Dynamics, told Autocar: “Gen6 batteries will give us 30% or more range than our current Gen5, but we won’t go over 1000km [620 miles] of range, even though we can. We don’t think that such a long range is necessary.”
DC rapid-charging time is also set to be improved by up to 30%, meaning the Gen6 era of BMWs will be able to support ultra-rapid charging of around 270kW – on a par with the Porsche Taycan.
It’s also estimated that the Gen6 battery packs could weigh some 10-20% less than the existing Gen5 batteries, which weigh roughly 300kg for a mid-range pack.
The forthcoming Gen6 cylindrical cells use a unique BMW chemistry. They measure 46mm in diameter and either 95mm or 120mm in height. Using less cobalt but more nickel, they will be sourced from Chinese battery manufacturers CATL and EV, and are ultimately an evolution of the conventional lithium ion chemistry that's common to today’s EVs.
The change in cell shape has also brought about a new battery-pack design that's slimmer and allows for a more versatile ‘pack-to-open-body’ installation process, whereby the battery essentially becomes an integral part of the car’s structure.
Marie-Therese von Srbik, head of battery cell development at BMW, said: “With this next generation of battery, we will be much more flexible with how we integrate the cell. The whole vehicle is becoming more adaptive towards that.”
Company experts wouldn’t be drawn on the longevity of the new batteries, but Albrecht confirmed: “Legislation is coming in to further guarantee battery life. For instance, the US will require a minimum 80% battery performance after 10 years. We're performing better than that.”