Meta: BMW Focuses on Electrification with New Battery Cell Competence Center and Next Generation EV Technology
The gasoline engine’s rein of supremacy is coming to an end. Nearly every automaker is investing heavily in electric vehicles (EV) and BMW is no exception. In fact, BMW is one of the leaders in EV research, which is why the company invested 200 million euros to build a Battery Cell Competence Center.
A facility to create the vehicles of the future
Located in Munich Germany, the Battery Cell Competence Center promises to be the hub for BMW’s battery cell development. The company will invest 200 million euros in the location over the next four years. Two-hundred new jobs will also be created. BMW plans to open the center in early 2019.
At a ground-breaking ceremony held for the center, Klaus Fröhlich, member of the BMW AG Board of Management, expressed his goals for the center.
“We will be concentrating all our in-house expertise along the battery-cell value chain at our new high-tech competence center. International experts working in the new development labs and facilities will conduct important research to refine cell chemistry and cell design. We will focus on further improvements in battery performance, lifespan, safety, charging and also costs. We will set the benchmark for the industry.”
It’s clear that BMW plans to focus on electrification and other advanced technologies. The company hopes being at the forefront will strengthen German’s position as a technological innovator. Such technology will also help BMW cater to their tech-savvy customers.
BMW already produces EVs at ten locations around the world. Adding the Battery Cell Competence Center will only strengthen the company’s production network.
Battery cell importance
Hybrid and electric vehicle batteries are comprised of individual cells connected in series. These cells are the fundamental building blocks of the battery. They greatly affect its performance, charging ability and lifespan.
In BMW’s new facility, specialists will analyze cell design and technology. They will also build battery cell prototypes and develop new cell technology. If needed, blueprints of cell designs can be created in house, with the actual production being farmed out.
The hope is that, having control over most of the cell development process, will give BMW a competitive edge. And it’s likely to do just that. The new center will allow BMW to oversee cell material selection, design, integration and production.
BMW isn’t new to the battery development scene. The automaker has spent years researching battery cells. These years of experience led to the development of the i models – BMW’s hybrid and electric vehicle lineup. Experts from across the company will team up at the new Battery Cell Competence Center to make sure the wave of innovation continues.
Fifth generation EV drivetrains by 2021
BMW promises big advancements in the EV market for model year 2021. This is when the manufacturer plans to release its fifth generation of electric vehicles. The push to develop this new, EV technology is one of the reasons for the Battery Cell Competence Center.
The next generation BMW EV lineup will feature a new, separate electric-drive unit. This assembly will house all the electronic bits – the motors, transmission and power electronics. One of the benefits of this design is the EV components will need less space. It also allows for scalability, meaning it can be modified to fit a wide range of vehicle types. In fact, the system should be able to fit any model series with any drive train. This will also reduce production costs.
Another advancement slated for 2021 is less dependency on rare earth metals. The electric motors found in BMW’s fifth generation EV motors will not require these resources. This frees BMW from dependency on these scarce materials.
Other improvements for BMW’s next round of EVs include more powerful batteries with a modular design. According to BMW, this will lead to a huge improvement in EV range. The automaker boasts of an EV range of up to 700 km and plug-in hybrid range of up to 100 km.
For BMW, in-house electric motor and battery development yields a distinct advantage. It secures knowledge, providing technological prowess and cost benefits. This should also allow BMW to fulfil the predicted demand of several hundred thousand EVs in 2025.
BMW celebrates and promotes an electrified future
The competition to develop new EV technology is fierce. Tesla isn’t the only company trading hydrocarbons in for electrons – every company from Toyota to General Motors is in the race. So far, BMW has managed to stay at the front of the pack. Between January and October 2017, the company delivered 78,096 electrified vehicles worldwide. That’s a 63.7% increase from the previous year. BMW’s current lineup includes nine electrified cars, making it one of the leading manufactures.
BMW plans to unveil the latest edition to its electric lineup, the new i8 coupe, at the North American Auto Show in Detroit. The radical machine will feature a three-cylinder gasoline engine and electric drivetrain. A roadster edition will also be on display.
Over the course of 2017, BMW sold over 100,000 electrified vehicles around the world. To celebrate, the company modified its famous headquarters tower to resemble a battery.
The ultimate driving machine has gone electric – and it’s not afraid to show it.
Source: BMW Group