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Ahead of the curve: How BMW is reshaping battery technology

Will battery technology be the end game for sustainable cars or will it eventually be overtaken by other alternatives?

In any case, the vast amount of research done to date points to the fact that battery storage is the most efficient way to use electricity on the move simply because it does not involve converting it from one energy carrier to another (like hydrogen , for example, example).

BMW added to the stream of announcements in September, with news of a change in battery cell design and an increase in manufacturing capacity. It opened the Battery Cell Competence Center in Munich in 2019 and over the years has built up a network of 300 partners, from companies to universities. For its sixth generation of battery, it’s changing both the shape and the chemistry, improving volumetric energy density (how much energy is packed in a given space) by 20% and charging speed and range by 30%.

The change in shape is from prismatic cells (rectangular in shape) to cylindrical cells, in two different lengths, but both 46 mm in diameter. The new cells contain more nickel and less cobalt at the cathode (positive electrode) than before and more silicon at the anode (negative electrode). More silicon suggests faster charging, and as the batteries will be part of 800V drivetrains, it’s perhaps not surprising that the new battery class will do this, with 10-80% charging time reduced by 30%.

In addition to the usual improvements in capacity and performance, cells should lead to more sustainable batteries and include recycled raw materials. Suppliers will include recycled cobalt, lithium and nickel in the cells and manufacture them using only renewable energy. The goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of the cell manufacturing process by up to 60%. Given the controversy surrounding the materials used in lithium-ion batteries, the ultimate goal is to use fully recyclable cells.

Will battery technology be the end game for sustainable cars or will it eventually be overtaken by other alternatives?

In any case, the vast amount of research done to date points to the fact that battery storage is the most efficient way to use electricity on the move simply because it does not involve converting it from one energy carrier to another (like hydrogen , for example, example).

BMW added to the stream of announcements in September, with news of a change in battery cell design and an increase in manufacturing capacity. It opened the Battery Cell Competence Center in Munich in 2019 and over the years has built up a network of 300 partners, from companies to universities. For its sixth generation of battery, it’s changing both the shape and the chemistry, improving volumetric energy density (how much energy is packed in a given space) by 20% and charging speed and range by 30%.

The change in shape is from prismatic cells (rectangular in shape) to cylindrical cells, in two different lengths, but both 46 mm in diameter. The new cells contain more nickel and less cobalt at the cathode (positive electrode) than before and more silicon at the anode (negative electrode). More silicon suggests faster charging, and as the batteries will be part of 800V drivetrains, it’s perhaps not surprising that the new battery class will do this, with 10-80% charging time reduced by 30%.

In addition to the usual improvements in capacity and performance, cells should lead to more sustainable batteries and include recycled raw materials. Suppliers will include recycled cobalt, lithium and nickel in the cells and manufacture them using only renewable energy. The goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of the cell manufacturing process by up to 60%. Given the controversy surrounding the materials used in lithium-ion batteries, the ultimate goal is to use fully recyclable cells.

Will battery technology be the end game for sustainable cars or will it eventually be overtaken by other alternatives?

In any case, the vast amount of research done to date points to the fact that battery storage is the most efficient way to use electricity on the move simply because it does not involve converting it from one energy carrier to another (like hydrogen , for example, example).

BMW added to the stream of announcements in September, with news of a change in battery cell design and an increase in manufacturing capacity. It opened the Battery Cell Competence Center in Munich in 2019 and over the years has built up a network of 300 partners, from companies to universities. For its sixth generation of battery, it’s changing both the shape and the chemistry, improving volumetric energy density (how much energy is packed in a given space) by 20% and charging speed and range by 30%.

The change in shape is from prismatic cells (rectangular in shape) to cylindrical cells, in two different lengths, but both 46 mm in diameter. The new cells contain more nickel and less cobalt at the cathode (positive electrode) than before and more silicon at the anode (negative electrode). More silicon suggests faster charging, and as the batteries will be part of 800V drivetrains, it’s perhaps not surprising that the new battery class will do this, with 10-80% charging time reduced by 30%.

In addition to the usual improvements in capacity and performance, cells should lead to more sustainable batteries and include recycled raw materials. Suppliers will include recycled cobalt, lithium and nickel in the cells and manufacture them using only renewable energy. The goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of the cell manufacturing process by up to 60%. Given the controversy surrounding the materials used in lithium-ion batteries, the ultimate goal is to use fully recyclable cells.

Will battery technology be the end game for sustainable cars or will it eventually be overtaken by other alternatives?

In any case, the vast amount of research done to date points to the fact that battery storage is the most efficient way to use electricity on the move simply because it does not involve converting it from one energy carrier to another (like hydrogen , for example, example).

BMW added to the stream of announcements in September, with news of a change in battery cell design and an increase in manufacturing capacity. It opened the Battery Cell Competence Center in Munich in 2019 and over the years has built up a network of 300 partners, from companies to universities. For its sixth generation of battery, it’s changing both the shape and the chemistry, improving volumetric energy density (how much energy is packed in a given space) by 20% and charging speed and range by 30%.

The change in shape is from prismatic cells (rectangular in shape) to cylindrical cells, in two different lengths, but both 46 mm in diameter. The new cells contain more nickel and less cobalt at the cathode (positive electrode) than before and more silicon at the anode (negative electrode). More silicon suggests faster charging, and as the batteries will be part of 800V drivetrains, it’s perhaps not surprising that the new battery class will do this, with 10-80% charging time reduced by 30%.

In addition to the usual improvements in capacity and performance, cells should lead to more sustainable batteries and include recycled raw materials. Suppliers will include recycled cobalt, lithium and nickel in the cells and manufacture them using only renewable energy. The goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of the cell manufacturing process by up to 60%. Given the controversy surrounding the materials used in lithium-ion batteries, the ultimate goal is to use fully recyclable cells.

By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org