© BMW Group Electronics Production | November 18, 2019
BMW's new battery cell centre to handle everything from material to prototyping
The BMW Group is looking fortify its position in the world of electric mobility and has pooled its many years of experience with battery cells and extensive knowledge in the field in a new Competence Centre.
The purpose of the facility in Munich is to advance battery cell technology and carefully dissect the production processes. “The new Battery Cell Competence Centre puts us in an enviable position,” says Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, in a press release. “Taking the technology currently in the BMW i3 as a basis, by 2030 we will be able to double the energy density of our battery cells – and therefore also the operating range of the vehicles for our customers.” The new Competence Centre maps the entire value chain of battery cell technology – from research and development to a cell’s composition and design, and its suitability for large-scale manufacture. The facility brings together the full breadth of the company’s expertise and lays the foundations for adding to it. The short distances and cross-functional collaboration at work here will enable complete, transparent and sustainable development of battery cells. The BMW Group is investing a total of EUR 200 million in the Competence Centre and employees 200 people here. With this investment, the company says it is making a statement technologically but also safeguarding jobs and key skills. The company is working together with its employees to define the future of electric mobility at the BMW Group. The German automotive group is developing the future generations of battery cells at the new Competence Centre, focusing on customer-relevant aspects, such as improving energy density, available peak output, service life, safety, charging characteristics and performance at varying temperatures, and reducing battery costs. Selecting the right materials from the beginning is crucial if these high standards are to be met. For this reason, the experts at the Competence Centre are constantly investigating innovative materials and systematically comparing them with one another. This leads to the creation of new material sets for the battery cell’s individual elements: the anode, cathode, electrolyte and separator. The way in which the various materials interact – the cell chemistry, in other words – is another fundamental factor in the evolution of the cell design. The BMW Group is also taking steps to ensure that future generations of battery cells can be manufactured on a large scale. The new centre offers production facilities conforming to the industry standards of established cell manufacturers. New production technologies have been integrated here, bearing in mind the importance of flexibility with cell format in order to create greater scope for incorporating different developments.