The BMW Group has awarded the two battery cell manufacturers CATL and Samsung SDI further orders worth several billion euros. The German carmaker intends to cover their battery cell requirements until 2031.
The CATL order volume, which originally stood at four billion euros when it was announced in mid-2018, will increase to 7.3 billion euros (contract period: 2020 to 2031). The cells will be delivered from 2020 to 2031. In addition, the BMW Group has concluded a long-term supply contract with Samsung SDI. The contract has an order volume of 2.9 billion euros (contract period: 2021 to 2031).
The cells from the two suppliers will thus be used in the fifth generation of eDrive drives, which BMW intends to install for the first time in the iX3 announced for 2020. Later, the i4 and the series version of the iNext will also feature this technology. The iX3 will first be launched in China and will then receive CATL cells from local production.
The CATL cells for the models made in the German plants will then come from the CATL battery cell plant currently under construction in Erfurt – BMW says it is the plant’s first customer. “We have intensively supported and accompanied the establishment of CATL in Germany,” says Andreas Wendt, Board Member of BMW AG for Purchasing and Supplier Network.
Together with the Samsung deal, BMW wants to cover its demand for battery cells for its electrified vehicles (BMW is currently relying more on PHEV than BEV). “Each cell generation is awarded to the technologically and economically leading manufacturer in global competition,” says Wendt. “This gives us access to the best possible cell technology at all times”.
With the switch to the fifth generation of electric drives, BMW is also facing a paradigm shift in its purchasing policy: from 2020, the Munich-based company will purchase the two key raw materials cobalt and lithium directly from the raw material mines – in the case of cobalt in Morocco and Australia. BMW then makes these raw materials available to Samsung SDI and CATL so that they can use them for BMW cells. BMW hopes that this will result in the best possible transparency regarding the origin of the raw materials and thus compliance with environmental standards and human rights.
The cells themselves will not be “off the peg”, but will be developed by BMW itself to the prototype stage. Together with the supplier, the respective cell type is then brought to series maturity. Last week, BMW opened the Battery Cell Competence Centre in Munich for its own advance development and research.
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