BMW bets on cylindrical battery cells for a new class of electric vehicles from 2025

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The BMW logo is seen during the Munich auto show, IAA Mobility 2021 in Munich, Germany, September 8, 2021. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

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BERLIN, Sept 9 (Reuters) – BMW will power its new class of electric vehicles due for release in 2025 with cylindrical battery cells made at six factories by partners including China’s CATL and EVE Energy, as the automaker seeks to accelerate charge and extend battery life.

The German automaker has already placed multibillion-euro orders with CATL (300750.SZ) and EVE (300014.SZ) to produce battery cells at four factories in China and Europe, it said. Friday, adding that it was looking for partners capable of building two more factories in the United States and Mexico.

BMW said it would sign contracts for up to 20 gigawatt hours of capacity at each of the six plants.

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CATL said in a separate statement Friday that two of its factories will supply BMW with batteries that have the same diameter as Tesla’s 4680 cells.

The German automaker did not specify how many batteries it plans to source from EVE and CATL.

By adopting cylindrical cells, BMW (BMWG.DE) is breaking with the prismatic cells it has used in its batteries so far, following the path chosen by Tesla (TSLA.O) with its 4680 cylindrical battery.

BMW’s new generation of batteries will use more nickel and silicon and less cobalt, resulting in a 20% increase in energy density, 30% faster charging and 30% longer range than previous generations. previous ones.

A spokesperson for CATL, which has been supplying BMW for a decade and researching potential battery factory sites in the United States, told Reuters in May it would begin supplying cylindrical cells to BMW from 2025, but the automaker declined to comment at the time. Read more

The news also confirmed a Reuters report in August that EVE, which supplies BMW in China, had signed a contract for cylindrical cells with the German automaker. Read more

BMW’s change underscores the growing momentum for larger format cylindrical batteries.

Prismatic batteries, which are rectangular in shape, have become the most common automotive battery shape over the past couple of years because they can be packed more densely, helping to reduce costs.

But proponents of cylindrical batteries say the new, larger-format cells have become more cost-effective due to improved energy density.

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Reporting by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Mark Potter and Christopher Cushing

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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