More BMWs will get improved electric range
BMW i3 is not the only BMW that will get a bigger battery.
Samsung SDI is now producing in its new Chinese battery plant 37 Ah cells for PHEVs and 94 Ah cells for EVs. They can’t come soon enough.
Regarding BMW i3, the upgrade from 60 Ah to 94 Ah cells represents a 57 % increase, boosting the battery from 21,3 kWh to 33,4 kWh.
But BMW i3 isn’t the only BMW’s electric vehicle that still uses 60 Ah cells.
The electric scooter BMW C Evolution also uses 36 of those cells, making a battery with 8 kWh (36 x 60 Ah x 3,7 V). The upgrade to 94 Ah will make the scooter’s battery capacity improve to 12,5 kWh. Regarding range, it means that the official 100 km range could go up to 157 km.
What about BMW’s PHEVs?
BMW is now using 20 Ah cells in BMW i8 and 26 Ah in the X5 xDrive40e. Upgrading to 37 Ah cells means a major improve in battery capacity, specially in i8. At the moment all BMW’s batteries are made with 96 cells connected in series and each cell has 3,7 V of nominal voltage.
BMW i8’s battery upgrade to the latest cells would increase its capacity from 7,1 kWh to 13,14 kWh. Almost the double. The upgrade for the X5 xDrive40e wouldn’t be as impressive. Its 9,2 kWh battery would increase to 13,14 kWh.
But Samsung SDI isn’t the only cell maker that has new cells with an impressive energy density increase. LG Chem also has new cells available that could easily boost the range of current electric cars by more than 50 %. I’m thinking of Renault Zoe and Ford Focus electric.
Unfortunately I haven’t any information regarding latest achievements in GS Yuasa, but Mitsubishi electric cars, i-MiEV and Outlander PHEV really need a battery upgrade. GS Yuasa’s LEV50N cells have the worst energy density in modern electric cars. Maybe it’s time for Mitsubishi change its battery supplier.