Automotive

BMW will use ONE's battery to double the range of its iX electric SUV

BMW will use ONE's battery to ...
ONE and BMW will collaborate on a prototype iX EV running on ONE's high-density, dual-chemistry Gemini battery technology. It's expected to nearly double the iX's range autonomy
ONE and BMW will collaborate on a prototype iX EV running on ONE's high-density, dual-chemistry Gemini battery technology. It's expected to nearly double the iX's range autonomy
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ONE and BMW will collaborate on a prototype iX EV running on ONE's high-density, dual-chemistry Gemini battery technology. It's expected to nearly double the iX's range autonomy
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ONE and BMW will collaborate on a prototype iX EV running on ONE's high-density, dual-chemistry Gemini battery technology. It's expected to nearly double the iX's range autonomy
ONE's Gemini battery technology splits a pack into two sections, one focused on high power delivery, the other focused on super-high-density energy storage
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ONE's Gemini battery technology splits a pack into two sections, one focused on high power delivery, the other focused on super-high-density energy storage

Michigan's Our Next Energy (ONE) believes massive range figures are the path forward for EVs. Its experimental Gemini battery pack nearly doubled the range of a Tesla Model S in 2021, and now it's signed a deal with BMW to do the same for the iX SUV.

BMW has taken a special interest in ONE, to the point that the Bavarian company's California-based venture capital arm, BMW i Ventures, recently led a US$65-million funding round that also brought in Bill Gates's Breakthrough Energy. ONE's passenger car solution, the Gemini battery pack, is claimed to double the energy density and range of the typical EV battery pack by splitting the battery system in two, and running two different battery chemistries.

The smaller portion of the pack is focused on power density – delivering bulk energy to the wheels when needed, and handling fast-charge cycles. ONE doesn't give away much detail on the chemistry, but notes that it incorporates lithium, iron, phosphor, oxygen and carbon, and CEO Mujeeb Ijaz told Automotive Engineering it's not a simple lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) design.

The remainder of the battery is focused on energy density, and acts like a range extender for the high-power section. It uses lithium, manganese and oxygen, and since it doesn't need to deal with high power loads, ONE's engineers have been free to focus on packing in as much energy as possible.

ONE's Gemini battery technology splits a pack into two sections, one focused on high power delivery, the other focused on super-high-density energy storage
ONE's Gemini battery technology splits a pack into two sections, one focused on high power delivery, the other focused on super-high-density energy storage

The resulting pack has its limitations; it's not going to be great for track days or other sustained high-power use cases, so if (like some of my favorite lunatics) you're the kind to whack your Tesla into Ludicrous mode and floor the pedal at every red light, this pack would be a buzz kill. It might also be comparatively slow to charge, since the range extender bit will be slow both in charging and discharging. But under real-world driving conditions, it can deliver a monster range and capacity boost that'll make charge time a non-issue for most drivers.

ONE pulled the ~100-kWh battery pack out of a Tesla Model S last year, and replaced it with a Gemini pack holding 203.7 kWh. In testing, the Tesla managed a 752-mile (1,210-km) road trip averaging 55 mph (88.5 km/h), as compared to its EPA rated range of 405 miles (651 km).

Now, ONE and BMW have teamed up to demonstrate the Gemini battery in a less aerodynamic EV. The BMW iX is a high-performance "sports activity vehicle" with a standard battery holding 111.5 kWh and an EPA-rated range up to 324 miles (521 km). BMW has agreed to build a Gemini-powered demonstrator car that the companies expect will deliver 600 miles (966 km) of driving range.

The prototype iX should be finished by the end of this year, and while BMW is (as always) choosing its words carefully, the Gemini pack is certainly being considered as a potential future option for electric Beemers.

“We are well-positioned to incorporate ONE’s IP into BMW’s SAV line,” said Jürgen Hildinger, Head of High Voltage Storage at BMW Group New Technologies. “We are confident that given economic viability, this can lead to commercial opportunities and strategies to integrate ONE’s battery technologies into models of our future BEV product line-up.”

Enjoy a largely substance-free video below, if you're happy to admit your time's not that valuable.

ONE Gemini | 600 Miles Range in a BMW iX

Source: ONE

9 comments
9 comments
Chase
I know I speak for a microscopic minority of consumers when I say that I would much rather have a lighter battery than one that can go for 600mi. If I can get 250mi under normal conditions, that's plenty. I want the lightest battery that can do 150mi of "enthusiastic" driving.
Thornapple
Interesting option for people who want range, don't need super high performance and don't mind a longer wait for those few occasions they have to actually visit a charger, never mind do a complete charge from empty. However, like others here I just need from an EV the 250 mile range I currently get from an ICE car, especially if the charge time is decent. I don't quite understand this range fixation in the EV industry.
Black Cat
Having an all-day range while traveling would dramatically change everything for me: instead of fast charging en route, I would slow charge at a hotel. I could take breaks during the day whenever and wherever I like. Broken or busy DC chargers wouldn’t bother me. Of course, hotels should not just rent beds but also reserve overnight charging spots.
TedTheJackal
People didn't drive 55 mph even when it was the speed limit. At a realistic speed of 75 mph the drag will be 86% higher and the range 30-40% lower.
freddotu
@Thornapple, I suspect the trend to range increases is as much marketing and perception than it is real need. Our decade old EVs are running 100-125 miles range, which is pretty good for our purposes. Sure, it would be great to have a 300 mile battery, but it wouldn't get used. A 600 mile battery might not get used either, but it addresses the imaginary range anxiety that uninformed consumers will carry into the showroom. There will be a few outliers who can appreciate and use such a pack, but I'll bet that class of driver will be rare. Marketing rules.
Username
A long range battery completely voids the need for fast charging or on route charging stations. Drive all day, charge while you sleep.
Johannes
Good news for anyone wanting an electric vehicle that will go to remote places where chargers are non-existent.
christopher
No mention of lifespan... does anyone want a battery that needs to be replaced every few years?
JohneD
For the next several years, as the number of EV's increase dramatically, we need to stop thinking of 'increased range' as only for long trips. Start thinking of it as an alternative to widespread installation of home chargers. There are/will be many residential locations that will not have ready access to chargers for daily/over-night charging such as apartment complexes, high-rise condominiums and other locations where install will be difficult or expensive. The less frequently you have to charge, the more vehicles a finite set of chargers can service. I would love to charge once a year, if possible. The ability to take long trips is just a bonus for most.