BMW might have been a EV pioneer when it launched the i3 and i8 a few years ago, but in 2017 it faces stiff competition from the likes of Tesla – and more traditional brands such as Renault, Mercedes and Nissan.
However, BMW has just revealed a huge new investment in EV battery tech and it could help the German brand compete in the increasingly competitive electric car sector.
BMW has announced that it’s investing heavily in Solid Power, a Colorado-based company that deals with solid-state battery technology. Just like the technology powering Dyson’s electric car project, the new battery cells use a high capacity lithium metal anode. That should allow them to store around two to three times the amount of power as a conventional lithium-ion battery.
A new R&D drive
In a statement released around the news, the founder and CEO of Solid Power, Doug Campbell said: ‘Collaborating with BMW is further validation that solid-state battery innovations will continue to improve electric vehicles. We’re looking forward to working with BMW on pushing the limits on developments around xEV batteries.’
While exact details of the deal aren’t yet known, it should allow Solid Power to increase its manufacturing and R&D efforts, and bring its technology to a level suitable for the automotive sector.
A solid state future
Sodium-ion batteries appeared to be the future of EVs for a short while, but now it looks like solid-state technology is what will really power the electric cars of the future. Solid state technology offers some serious gains and with Bosch and Dyson already working hard to develop the technology, it’s very likely to be in our EVs soon.
What’s particularly interesting about solid-state batteries, though, is Elon Musk’s relative silence on the topic. While other car brands are hoping to release solid-state tech in the next few years, Tesla appears to be sticking with traditional lithium-ion cells. We’ll find out whether that’s a good idea or not in the next five years.
A few months ago BMW also announced a round of investment in battery-tech in Munich – though it’s not clear if that’s related to solid-state tech.