BMW has extensively detailed the benefits its Gen6 batteries featuring round cells will bring to Neue Klasse EVs but it aims to achieve another breakthrough with all-solid-state batteries (ASSB). In an interview for the company’s official media site, the General Manager of Battery Technology touched on the hot topic of ASSBs.
Kurt Vandeputte says the work-in-progress technology delivers higher energy density and it’s at least as safe as the current crop of batteries. However, he admits the tech behind ASSBs will require “some more years” to mature, adding it won’t be ready for industrialization until the end of the decade. To get there, it’s setting up a prototype line for solid-state battery production in Pardsorf at the Cell Manufacturing Competence Center (CMCC) near Munich. In addition, it has teamed up with Solid Power from which it received the first samples earlier this month. A working EV prototype with ASSBs is expected by 2025.
Peter Lamp, the former General Manager of Battery Technology, also took part in the interview held at the CMCC. He’ll be staying onboard until the launch of Gen6 batteries, which is programmed to take place in 2025 with the first Neue Klasse EVs. He reiterated the benefits of round cells, bringing a boost in density of 20%, an increase in charging speed of 30%, and 30% greater range compared to today’s Gen5 batteries. Previously, BMW has said production costs will be halved and the emissions generated during the manufacturing process could go down by as much as 60%.
But in BMW’s vision, achieving a zero-emissions future doesn’t necessarily have to be exclusively about batteries. It’s one of the few automakers still interested in hydrogen cars, aiming to launch a fuel-cell model by the end of this decade. In the meantime, it’s running a trial program with a large fleet of iX5 Hydrogen prototypes that are being tested in real-life conditions in many parts of the world. It’s not riding solo in this endeavor as Toyota is lending a helping hand.