BMW iX3 gets a NCM 811 battery from CATL

BMW iX3 powertrain

Now that BMW finally unveiled its new electric car, we have more details about its powertrain that includes a NCM 811 battery made with 188 prismatic cells from CATL.


But first, let’s see some important parts of the press release.


  • New BMW iX3 will be the brand’s first model to also be produced for export at the Shenyang manufacturing facility in China. Market launch will begin in China later in 2020.
  • Strategic “Power of Choice” approach covers broad spread of customer requirements and statutory regulations around the world: BMW X3 is the first model to be available with a petrol or diesel engine, plug-in hybrid drive system or all-electric drive system.
  • New BMW iX3 blazes a trail for fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology. Major progress made in terms of power density, operating range, weight, installation space requirement and flexibility. Power density of the electric drive system increased by 30 per cent over the BMW Group’s existing fully electric vehicles; gravimetric energy density of the high-voltage battery at cell level up by 20 per cent. Latest versions of the electric motor, power electronics, charging technology and high-voltage battery (all developed in-house) will also be deployed in the BMW iNEXT and BMW i4 from 2021.
  • Efficiency boosted significantly compared with the BMW i3 by highly integrated drive system technology. Electric motor, power electronics and transmission arranged in a central housing for the first time. Fifth-generation BMW eDrive high-voltage battery with the latest battery cell technology and gross energy content of 80 kWh enables operating range of up to 460 kilometres [285 miles] in the statutory new WLTP test cycle (up to 520 kilometres [323 miles] in the NEDC test cycle). BMW Group monitors compliance with environmental and social standards as part of its procurement process for the lithium and cobalt used in battery cells.
  • Newly designed fifth-generation BMW eDrive electric motor produces maximum output of 210 kW/286 hp and peak torque of 400 Nm (295 lb-ft). Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h [62 mph] in 6.8 seconds (for purposes of comparison – BMW X3 30i: 6.4 seconds), top speed (electronically limited): 180 km/h [112 mph]. The design principle of a current-excited synchronous motor enables optimised power development and allows engineers to avoid the use of rare earths.


BMW prismatic battery cells


Specs of the BMW iX3 powertrain

  • Motor: 210 kW/286 hp and peak torque of 400 Nm (295 lb-ft)
  • Top speed (electronically limited): 180 km/h (112 mph)
  • Acceleration: from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6,8 seconds
  • Fast charging: 0 to 80 % in 34 minutes at 150 kW CCS chargers
  • On-board charger: 11 kW and 22 kW (optional)
  • WLTP range: 460 km (286 miles)
  • NEDC range: 520 km (323 miles)
  • Total battery capacity: 80 kWh (10 modules)
  • Usable battery capacity: 74 kWh (92 %)
  • Battery cells: 188 prismatic (94s2p)
  • Battery cell chemistry: NCM 811
  • Battery cell maker: CATL
  • TMS: liquid-cooling


The math points to battery cells with around 117 Ah, but unfortunately we don’t have important data like the weight or volume to determine their energy density.

We do however know that the BMW i4 will have different cells, but will also get a 80 kWh battery that weighs roughly 550 kg (145 Wh/kg), which is not impressive considering that simpler batteries made with less energy-dense cobalt-free LFP cells can already surpass 160 Wh/kg.

Using less safe ternary cells (NCM or NCA) requires safety mechanisms that add some weight and volume. With this type of cells it makes sense to use modules, because if some cells catch fire, the module can act as a firewall and prevent it from spreading to other cells.

On the other hand, much safer cobalt-free LFP battery cells are heavier and bigger but won’t catch fire or explode, even if punctured. This means that modules are dispensable and we can assemble lighter and smaller battery packs even if using less energy-dense cells.


Anyway, for its fifth-generation electric powertrains BMW will start with NCM 811 cells from CATL, then in 2021 it will also use cells from Samsung SDI. However, if we look at the sums of money involved, we conclude that CATL will be the main supplier.

The BMW Group will obtain battery cells for its fifth-generation electric drive trains from CATL (order volume: 7.3 billion euros, contract period: 2020 to 2031) and Samsung SDI (order volume: 2.9 billion euros, contract period: 2021 to 2031).



More info:

Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

18 Responses

  1. James says:

    If the motor is truly without rare Earth’s then it must be an induction motor.
    These are usually slightly less efficient.

  2. Barry says:

    I do like that BMW has a 92% net capacity, indicating TMS is doing a good job. How does this compare to Tesla net capacity? It looks like BMW is not using standard PHEV2 prismatic cell dimensions for all of their upcoming BEV cars – the sedans seem to have cells with a shorter height to enable less intrusion into the passenger compartment. Does going to non-standard cells hinder BMW’s ability to get economies of scale since they need a custom product (or am I wrong about this)? Is the second plug shown the GB/T plug? Too bad it is not coming to the USA as I think it should get a ~240 mile EPA rating.

    • Pajda says:

      To the last question. The second plug is most probably AC GB/T socket due to the GB/T is not combined standard. Actual China GB/T standard include two standalone sockets, one for AC and one for DC. for US and EU market there will be only one CCS socket.

    • Pajda says:

      To the first question, My guess is that BMW ix3 will use new “VW MEB compatible” format L221, H100, W:(vary with capacity), which will soon replace or will stand alongside with VDA-PHEV2 format. Today this format is already produced by CATL, CALB, SVOLT and others.

      So as Pedro mentioned in article, BMW ix3 should utilize CATL equivalent of this 117 Ah SVOLT (NMC 811) cell:

  3. Andrés says:

    Suena muy triste en pleno 2020 una batería de 80kwh de 550kg y 145wh/kg. Bajo mi modesta opinión así no se va a ningún sitio, al menos con EV a batería. Viendo el nulo avance en baterías es más que probable que cuando comiencen a comercializarse FCEV de forma masiva con 700-800km reales de autonomía estos se convertirán en el verdadero rebulsivo del EV.

  4. Famlin says:

    Unit of distance is km (kilometer)
    Unit of electricity is KWh (kilowatt-hour)

    So why not the Europeans use the km / KWh.

    100 km is not an unit of distance in any measure. Typically a BEV may go 6 – 8 km / KWh 
    The liters / 100 km was one non-sense and now they are continuing the same nonsense into BEVs with this KWh / 100 km.
    Please tell this to everyone that you know.

    • Kris says:

      I disagree. As EVs are gaining traction in Europe with some countries seeing market share in double digits we need information which is easy to understand as many of them are not obsessed with EVs and all the websites that fans visit. All they want to know is roughly how far they can go on a single charge in summer and winter and how fast they can recharge. Telling them to expect e.g. 400 km in the summer is all they care about.
      Why was litres/100 km nonsense in your opinion? I used it for years, then moved to UK and switched to mpg. No difference whatsoever.

      • Kris says:

        Basically with ICE efficiency is of more interest as the cost of fuel especially in Europe is a lot higher. With EVs on the other hand it boils down to the cost of the car and range.

      • Famlin says:

        Imagine saying speed in 50 minutes / 100 km instead of saying 120 km / hour.
        As I said, unit of distance is 1 km and not 100 km.
        I dont know who started this concept of per 100 km in a contingent that introduced the metric system to the world.

  5. Pajda says:

    Hi Pedro,

    I am looking forward to your article about Nissan Ariya battery pack, which also utilizes CATL prismatic cells. 🙂

    • Pedro Lima says:

      Hi Pajda.

      I’ll try to find more information about that, but I didn’t even found yet the official source that states that the NCM 811 battery cells used are from CATL.

      • Maarten Vinkhuyzen says:

        Hi Pedro,

        It was confirmed during a journalist round-table after question from one of the journalists.
        I attended for CleanTechnica and can confirm the statement. It was made after verifying battery chemistry and source.
        Prismatic NCM811 CATL

  6. 20bet says:

    Your article gave me a lot of inspiration, I hope you can explain your point of view in more detail, because I have some doubts, thank you.

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