BMW has started the next phase of its electro-mobility plan with work beginning on a new €200 million (A$313 million) Competence Centre For Battery Cells which will becomes the BMW group’s homeroom for battery technology.
The new facility is described as a multi-discipline technical centre which will be tasked with optimising the design, packaging, chemical formulations, charging and power delivery characteristics of BMW’s future electric powertrains.
As part of BMW’s ‘Number One > Next’ strategic outline electrification is set to play a pivotal part in the company's future alongside digitalisation and autonomous technology.
BMW also announced that from 2021 it would introduce its fifth-generation electric drivetrain featuring a more compact integrated motor, transmission, and electronics assembly with the ability to be adapted depending on the vehicle application.
The new powertrain unit boasts a range of up to 700 kilometres from a single charge in pure EVs, or up to 100 kilometres of electric-only driving in plug-in hybrid applications.
Thanks to its in-house development and integration with BMW’s scalable electric platforms it becomes theoretically possible for the brand to combine any of its vehicle lines with any of its powertrain systems with the new powertrain modules adaptable to both front and rear wheel drive.
Despite the investment in the new Competence Centre For Battery Cells, the facility will be a research and development centre only, with battery production to be contracted to outside suppliers who will produce powertrain systems to BMW specifications.
“We will be concentrating all our in-house expertise along the battery-cell value chain at our new high-tech competence centre,” Klaus Froehlich, head of development for BMW Group said.
“International experts working in the new development labs and facilities will conduct important research to refine cell chemistry and cell design. We will focus on further improvements in battery performance, lifespan, safety, charging and also costs. We will set the benchmark for the industry.”
By bringing battery development in-house BMW is aiming to become a technology leader in the field of electrification as rival brands ramp up their own EV efforts.
BMW’s Competence Centre For Battery Cells is set to officially open in 2019.
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