Earlier this month, BMW announced it will switch to a new design for its batteries with the Neue Klasse platform. Starting from the middle of this decade, the Bavarian company will use round cells, which will replace the current prismatic cells. This, BMW claims, will lead to a number of benefits and an increased range is also among them. The automaker eyes 621 miles (1,000 kilometers) between charges, though it won’t go above that number.
BMW estimates that the new batteries planned to make a debut in a production vehicle around 2025 will provide an increased range of approximately 30 percent. In the brand’s flagship electric vehicles, this means the range between two charges will be around that magic number of 621 miles (1,000 km) and a company executive has confirmed in a recent interview BMW has no plans to go beyond that number.
“Gen6 batteries will give us 30 percent or more range than our current Gen5, but we won’t go over 1,000 km [620 miles] of range, even though we can. We don’t think that such a long range is necessary,” the automaker’s head of Efficient Dynamics, Thomas Albrecht, told Autocar recently.
Another huge boost in performance will come from the increased charging capability. According to initial estimations from BMW, the Gen6 batteries will be able to support charging with around 270 kW or about 30 percent faster than BMW’s current generation batteries. With so powerful DC charging, does it mean the battery life will be shorter? No, not at all.
Gallery: BMW Neue Klasse batteries
“Legislation is coming in to further guarantee battery life. For instance, the US will require a minimum of 80 percent battery performance after 10 years. We're performing better than that,” Albrecht said.
For the Neue Klasse platform, BMW will use new and more compact batteries with a diameter of 1.81 inches (46 millimeters) and two available heights depending on their application. Also, the cell chemistry will be changed to include more nickel content on the cathode side, while the cobalt content will be reduced. As a result, the Gen6 batteries will have 20 or more percent higher volumetric energy density. A healthy 10-20 percent drop in weight is also estimated.