German manufacturer BMW is set to invest £175 million into new battery technologies after announcing its new Battery Cell Competence Centre in Munich.
It is aiming to develop a pure electric drivetrain with a range of 430 miles, while a plug-in hybrid would have a range of 62 miles when using solely electric power.
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This is part of the company’s fifth-generation electric powertrain developments – which are already underway – and would be fitted to all compatible by 2021.
The developments would also see the use of rare earth elements normally used as part of the battery-making cycle stopped – meaning lower costs and less materials used.
BMW AG member of the board Klaus Fröhlich said: “We will be concentrating all our in-house expertise along the battery-cell value chain at our new high-tech competence centre.
“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.”
Fellow member of the board Oliver Zipse added: “By producing battery-cell prototypes, we can analyse and fully understand the cell’s value-creation processes. With this build-to-print expertise, we can enable potential suppliers to produce cells to our specifications.
“The knowledge we gain is very important to us, regardless of whether we produce the battery cells ourselves, or not.”