BMW iX tests experimental battery claiming 600 miles of range

Automakers are working on conflicting goals when designing batteries for electric vehicles. They want high energy densities over long distances, but they also want to reduce the expensive metals that provide that capacity.

Michigan Battery Startup OurNextEnergy (ONE) claims that there is a better way to optimize all these factors. Now BMW has adapted an early prototype of ONE’s Gemini “dual chemistry” battery to a test version of its iX EV luxury SUV, with claims ranging from 600 miles and an EPA range estimate for the iX xDrive 50 in stock, almost 2 Check if it doubles. Backed by a variety of real-world uses. According to both companies, Test iX will be available by the end of this year.

BMW is a logical vehicle partner for testing ONE’s technology. Its investment arm, BMW i Ventures, was one of several backers in raising $ 25 million for a battery startup last October.

Traction + long range

The Dual-Chemistry label on ONE’s Gemini battery indicates the pairing of two different types of battery cells, each with a different purpose.

The “traction” section contains cells that use a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathode, which is known to have a lower energy density than cobalt, nickel, manganese, or aluminum-based chemicals. LFP batteries are rare in North America, but common in Chinese EVs. Due to the use of cheap and readily available iron for the cathode, battery analysts say that LFP cells will skyrocket in popularity as energy densities increase, even if they are below the energy densities of advanced cobalt nickel cells. Suggests.

bmwix one battery


The “long range” portion of ONE’s Gemini battery, on the other hand, uses higher energy density chemicals based on a unique manganese-rich material with minimal cobalt and nickel. In the current R & D phase, one founder and CEO, Mujeeb Ijaz, said: Car and driver, The company is still experimenting with blends of three metals to improve performance. Unusually, it has only a bare copper current collector, not a separate anode material, a design known by academia as “anode-free”.

According to Ijaz, LFP’s “traction” cells provide nearly 99% of the vehicle’s total mileage, while “long range” cells operate at 1% of extreme power usage and go to LFP cells. Reduces stress and deterioration. ..

In this way, ONE can provide a battery with an energy density that is said to be twice that of today’s EVs, while at the same time providing adequate supply and cheap manganese.

Lab test, meet the real world

The chemistries of hundreds of batteries show at least some promise in laboratory testing, but far less are going into production, and even extended testing. The BMW iX prototype with Gemini will be available by the end of this year. It is first used as a demonstrator to prove that the Gemini Battery concept can store and supply energy.

After that, BMW and ONE will cooperate in further testing. As Ijaz points out, ONE needs to “work with BMW to understand the requirements” in order for his company to become a long-term supplier. It’s a difficult road, but all battery startups need to move before the product hits the market.

The BMW iX with ONE represents the company’s new milestone in powering real vehicles rather than simply displaying bench test results. The actual cells included in this early prototype pack are manufactured by one or more of four separate supplier partners in Asia and North America and are working with ONE to prototyp and scale up production of new cells. is.

ONE was far away from the press stunt last December if the iX was run, charged and shown to cover the promised distance. In what ONE called a proof-of-concept, the car was packed with cells that had twice the energy capacity of the standard Tesla Model S and ran over 750 miles (twice as much as normal).

However, although they were not Gemini cells, the BMW iX, which will be available by the end of the year, is expected to use a very early experimental version of the new cell in ONE. This counts as a clear progress, assuming it happens on schedule. stay tuned.

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