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BMW broke ground on new Battery Cell Competence Center.
BMW broke ground on new Battery Cell Competence Center.

BMW is investing €200 million in a new Battery Cell Competence Center to advance battery cell technology and introduce it into production processes.

"We will be concentrating all our in-house expertise along the battery-cell value chain at our new high-tech competence center. 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," said Klaus Fröhlich, member of the BMW AG Board of Management, responsible for Research and Development.

BMW will invest a total of €200 million in the location over the next four years. The center, which broke ground on November 24, is expected to open in early 2019.

In the labs, research and prototyping facilities, which will make up the battery cell competence center, specialist departments will analyze cell design and cell technology. They will also create prototypes of future battery cells, focusing on the chemical composition of the cells, use of different materials, how the cell behaves in critical or extremely cold conditions, charging and rapid-charging behavior and evaluating cell sizes and forms.

"By producing battery-cell prototypes, we can analyze 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," said Oliver Zipse, member of the BMW AG Board of Management, responsible for Production.

It will also gain build-to-print expertise and can then contract out production of battery cells produced to its product requirements and specifications, according to the company.

The BMW Group is already developing the 5th generation of its electric drivetrain, for release in 2021, in which interaction between the electric motor, transmission, power electronics and battery have been further optimized. The driving range of pure battery-electric vehicles can be extended to up to 700km, it said.

A further highlight is that the new electric motor does not require the use of rare earths, so BMW is no longer dependent on their availability.

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