Cell samples for BMW’s New Class roll off the assembly line
Operations at BMW’s competence centre for battery cell manufacturing east of Munich have been underway since May. The facility spans an area of 15,000 square metres. There, “experience will be gained from all processes and the lessons learned analysed to further optimise the use of resources.” A pilot cell production facility is also being built on site.
According to BMW, the first battery cell samples for the future New Class (Neue Klasse) have now rolled off the production line in Parsdorf, Germany. They will be used in the carmaker’s upcoming EVs from 2025. With the BMW Vision New Class study, the Munich company provided a visual preview at the IAA Mobility in September.
BMW also focuses on innovations in the drive system – for example, in the cell format. The battery cell samples now produced at the CMCC are round cells of the 4695 format (46 millimetres in diameter, 95 millimetres in height), but that is the only detail the manufacturer mentions. Otherwise, BMW repeats already-known facts, such as that the round cells for the vehicles of the New Class have the formats 4695 and 46120 and should be able to increase the range by up to 30 per cent (according to WLTP).
Compared to the prismatic cells currently used, the nickel content in the round cells is increased on the cathode side, while the cobalt content is reduced. On the anode side, the silicon content increases. As a result, the volumetric energy density in the cell should increase by more than 20 per cent.
“Production of battery cell samples in Parsdorf marks the next logical step in our battery cell strategy,” says Frank Weber, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Development. “The Cell Manufacturing Competence Centre is the perfect complement to our existing Battery Cell Competence Centre in the north of Munich. Development takes place there, then we scale the best product towards a series process in Parsdorf. Thanks to cross-divisional collaboration, we are able to link product and process in a unique way.”
Around 80 people work at the CMCC in Parsdorf. Investments in the manufacturing competence centre for battery cells amount to approximately 170 million euros. As reported, BMW is also building a prototype line for solid-state battery cells at its Cell Manufacturing Competence Centre in Parsdorf based on designs from partner Solid Power.
Still, BMW has ruled out its own large-scale battery cell production and will continue to source cells from various manufacturers. However, it will be responsible for preparing the cells for the installation in modules and final assembly in a high-voltage battery.