BMW rumoured to use round cells for the New Class

Shortly after BMW boss Oliver Zipse confirmed that the new New Class platform planned for 2025 will first be used in the 3 Series segment and probably exclusively in purely electric mode, the next strategic shift is now on the horizon: According to a report, BMW could switch to round cells for the battery.

This is what the news agency Bloomberg has learned. In its current e-models such as the iX and i4, BMW relies on prismatic cells in various sizes. Each of these is installed in its own cuboid housing, which BMW then paints with a protective coating before the cells are installed in the modules.

This could be different for the New Class, as Reuters now reports on sources familiar with the proceedings. The new cells are to be manufactured by BMW’s existing suppliers – currently CATL, Samsung SDI, Northvolt and EVE Energy.

According to the sources, the design will help achieve the 30 per cent cost reduction target. BMW’s new round cells are expected to exceed the energy density of Tesla’s cells by “at least a double-digit percentage”. Which round cell format or which cell chemistry the Munich-based company favours, however, is not mentioned.

BMW has been using prismatic cells since the i3, but a change in cell format does not come as a complete surprise. BMW had already announced last year that it was developing a new generation of batteries for its “New Class” electric cars. “We want to significantly increase the energy density of the cells and reduce the costs of material use and production at the same time. We will also significantly reduce the use of primary material to ensure a truly ‘green’ battery,” BMW CEO Oliver Zipse explained at the time. For this then sixth generation of its electric drive technology, BMW is evaluating different cell formats, cell chemistries and also cell modules.

If these assessments have indeed led to BMW relying on round cells in the future, it would be the second change of strategy around the New Class to become known within a few days. Recently, Zipse had indicated that the New Class would initially only be battery-electric and also primarily be used in the mid-size class. Previously, there was always talk of a “cluster architecture” around the New Class, on which models from the 1-series to the 7-series would be based in future – with the “electric first” approach, but also with the option of plug-in hybrids and internal combustion engines. (paywall),


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