BMW will power its new class of 2025-released electric vehicles with cylindrical battery cells manufactured in six plants by partners including China’s CATL and EVE Energy in an effort to accelerate charging and increase driving range.
The German automaker has already placed multibillion-euro orders with CATL and EVE to produce battery cells at four plants in China and Europe, the company announced on Friday, adding that it is seeking partners capable of constructing two additional factories in the United States and Mexico.
BMW is abandoning its previous usage of prismatic cells in its batteries in favor of cylindrical cells, following the road adopted by Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) with its 4680 cylindrical battery.
The new generation of BMW batteries will use more nickel and silicon and less cobalt, resulting in a 20% boost in energy density, a 30% increase in charging speed, and a 30% increase in range compared to the previous generation.
CATL, which has supplied BMW for a decade and is evaluating potential battery production sites in the United States, told Reuters in May that it would begin supplying BMW with cylindrical cells beginning in 2025, although the automaker declined to comment at the time.
The statement also corroborated an August Reuters report that EVE, which supplies BMW in China, had struck a contract with the German automaker for cylindrical cells.
BMW’s decision demonstrates the increasing push for larger cylindrical batteries.
Rectangular prismatic cells have been the most popular type of auto battery during the past two years because they can be packed more tightly, hence reducing costs.
However, proponents of cylindrical batteries maintain that the cost-effectiveness of the newer, larger format cells has increased due to advances in energy density.