Automotive

BMW to open 200 million-Euro battery cell development center in Munich

BMW to open 200 million-Euro b...
A brand new Battery Cell Competence Center in Munich will help BMW develop expertise in all aspects of battery technology, right down to cell chemistry
A brand new Battery Cell Competence Center in Munich will help BMW develop expertise in all aspects of battery technology, right down to cell chemistry
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BMW is continually refining its electric powertrain
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BMW is continually refining its electric powertrain
BMW's fifth-generation electric drivetrain packages the motor, transmission and power electronics in a single, compact and scalable unit
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BMW's fifth-generation electric drivetrain packages the motor, transmission and power electronics in a single, compact and scalable unit
A brand new Battery Cell Competence Center in Munich will help BMW develop expertise in all aspects of battery technology, right down to cell chemistry
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A brand new Battery Cell Competence Center in Munich will help BMW develop expertise in all aspects of battery technology, right down to cell chemistry
Based in Munich, the new BMW battery technology center will focus on cell chemistry, packaging and prototyping
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Based in Munich, the new BMW battery technology center will focus on cell chemistry, packaging and prototyping
The new center will cost €200 million over then next 4 years, and will employ around 200 people
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The new center will cost €200 million over then next 4 years, and will employ around 200 people
Packaging a set of Lithium cells
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Packaging a set of Lithium cells
Packaging an individual pouch cell
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Packaging an individual pouch cell
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BMW is investing big in electric mobility, throwing some €200 million at a brand new "battery cell competence center" in Munich dedicated to advancing its electric drivetrain technology. The idea is for BMW to develop its own expertise in battery design, from packaging, testing and weatherproofing right down to the level of cell chemistry and production technologies.

BMW's fifth-generation electric drivetrain packages the motor, transmission and power electronics in a single, compact and scalable unit
BMW's fifth-generation electric drivetrain packages the motor, transmission and power electronics in a single, compact and scalable unit

The company is already working on its fifth generation electric powertrain, which combines the motor, transmission and power electronics into a single component, saving a lot of space in the process. It's also cheaper and lighter, as well as scalable to fit a range of different vehicles, and it sidesteps a difficult part of the procurement process by using no rare earth metals.

The company is working on modular design to the point where by 2020, any model series will be able to be fitted with any drivetrain.

This move, along with some of BMW's autonomous car pursuits, signals exciting prospects for the marque in the next 10-15 years. But we're still unsure how premium brands like BMW will fit into a longer term autonomous future. When transport is a super-cheap, on-demand service, owning a car is more expensive and inconvenient than grabbing a ride, and young people stop learning to drive since it's no longer a necessary skill, what's the value of the premium badge?

These are broader issues, but certainly it's exciting to start seeing the wheels of commerce turning among established brands as we move toward the electric revolution.

Source: BMW

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4 comments
Reece Agland
The well off will want their own cars for two reasons 1 they don't want to share with plebs and 2 more importantly owning a car will be a symbol of wealth again. So brands lije BMW and Benz will be fine. It is the everyday car manufacturers that will be hit by switch to non privately owned autonomous vehicles.
WolfeSA
@Reece, true! like in the days of horses vs early cars. The irony is that the electric car has finally won. There were electric cars back then, but sadly I presume the tech and costs for factory production weren't viable. Nearly a century of oil wars and pollution later...
Daishi
Car ownership is such a major part of culture in much of the world that I expect that the people who work in that building will probably have grandkids that still own cars. I continually see technology fail to solve problems that are simple and have been worked on for years. Self driving cars are an incredibly complex computing problem the likes of which the world has never solved before. The city of Munich just recently pulled the plug on their ~15 year effort to use Linux as a desktop operating system. Billions of dollars and millions of man hours were thrown at trying to make Linux work for something it was already pretty close to being viable to do and several companies came and went trying to solve what should have been a comparatively simple problem.
Moving packets on the Internet is a problem several full orders of magnitude easier than self driving cars and major failures still happen. I've seen predictions for fully autonomous cars by 2018 and I predict we'll still be having this conversation in 2028 and 2038. Everybody told me I was wrong when I said Linux on the desktop wasn't going to happen in ~2000. Everybody told me I was wrong when I laughed at people putting legs on robots for the last 20 years and now everyone says I'm wrong about self driving cars not happening any time soon. There is a vast difference between doing some tasks OK and doing all of them well that pretty much everyone is vastly underestimating. The model 3 doesn't have a dashboard speed display because they are intended to be fully autonomous. The model 3s being produced today won't even be on the road any more by the time cars on regular roads are finally fully autonomous. People will use human operated cars for the rest of my projected lifespan.
notarichman
the statement that self-driving cars is the future is wrong in a lot of cases. i live in northern idaho where roads are not always on maps, the population is so small that our internet has to be satellite driven, it takes about an hour to get to a grocery store, and Uber doesn't exist. where ever the population is sparse, there will not be either self-driving cars or shared driving to any extent. people are moving away from cities as they retire. they are the ones with money and therefore can afford to buy the vehicles they want. the young folks that succeed want cars as status symbols. the poor use buses/trains or carpool. Even Tesla recognizes that they had to start production with status symbol cars with a lot of range.
When Tesla and other car mfgs. start producing electric or hybrid cars with 300 mile range per charge that lower middle class can afford; then the ICE fad will disappear.