At an event in Munich, BMW confirmed the switch to round battery cells for Neue Klasse electric vehicles arriving in 2025. The sixth-generation battery will bring benefits on all fronts by improving range (+30%) and charging speed (+30%) while lowering production costs (-50%). Compared to prismatic cells currently in use, the cylindrical cells will cut CO2 emissions generated during the manufacturing process by 60%.
In an interview with Autocar, BMW’s man in charge of the Efficient Dynamics program shared some details about what the Bavarian company refers to as Gen6 batteries. Thomas Albrecht reiterated future EVs will indeed come with a boost range of at least 30% but won’t exceed 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) on a single charge. Gen6 batteries – which will use BMW’s bespoke chemistry – will be made with Chinese partners CATL and Eve Energy and are estimated to weigh up to 20% less than today’s batteries.
With the significant increase in charging speeds, Neue Klasse models are expected to support a maximum charging power of 270 kW. The battery will have more nickel but less cobalt and is going to come in two different heights depending on the application. As far as longevity is concerned, Thomas Albrecht said Gen6 batteries will still retain more than 80% of their performance even after 10 years of use.
The first BMW electric vehicle on the Neue Klasse platform will arrive in 2025 at the Debrecen plant in Hungary. To support the massive need for battery packs, six plants will be built with an annual capacity of 20 kWh: two in Europe, two in China, and two in the USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement).