BMW bets on cylindrical batteries for new class of electric vehicles from 2025

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BMW (ETR: BMWG ) will power its new class of electric vehicles, due to go on sale in 2025, with cylindrical battery cells made at six plants by partners including China’s CATL and EVE Energy, in times when the automaker intends to speed up charging and extend autonomy.

The German automaker has already placed orders worth several billion euros with CATL and EVE to produce battery cells at four factories in China and Europe, the company said on Friday, adding that it was looking for partners capable of building two other 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.

CATL said in a separate statement on Friday that two of its plants will supply BMW with batteries that are the same diameter as Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA ) 4680 cells.

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

With the adoption of cylindrical cells, BMW distances itself from the prismatic cells it has used in its batteries until now, following the path chosen by Tesla with its 4680 cylindrical battery.

The new generation of BMW 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.

A spokesman for CATL, which has supplied BMW for a decade and is studying possible battery factory sites in the United States, told Reuters in May that it would start supplying cylinder cells to BMW from 2025, but the automaker declined to do so. comments at that time.

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

Prismatic batteries, rectangular in shape, have become the most common form of car batteries in the last couple of years, as they can be packed more densely, saving costs.

But proponents of cylindrical batteries argue that the new, larger-format cells are more cost-effective thanks to improvements in energy density.

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