Just For Fun: BMW i3 With 100 kWh Battery From LION Smart

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LION Smart is a German engineering firm that specializes in battery management systems and electrical storage technology. It also acts as a consultant to many Tier One suppliers to the automotive industry including Bosch and Kreisel as well as companies like Airbus, Toyota, BMW, and Volkswagen.

LION Smart BMW i3

Millions of cylindrical 18650 lithium ion battery cells are rolling off production lines at LG Chem, Sanyo/Panasonic, and Samsung SDI every week. They are the standard of the industry, even though the newer 2170 cells are now being used by companies like Tesla for its Model 3 battery pack.

The degree of standardization in the cells from all major manufacturers means they are abundant and cheap. All have virtually the same specs as well — a capacity of 3.500 mAh. For companies like LION Smart, that means it can use cells from different manufacturers to create a perfectly functioning battery pack.

Two years ago, LION Smart showed off its technical prowess by designing and building a battery pack for the BMW i3 rated at 55 kWh — an increase of about 60%. As it comes from the factory, the i3 uses prismatic battery cells sourced from Samsung SDI. The LION Smart battery is able to fit in the same physical space as the factory unit.

Now, LION Smart has gone a step further — make that a big step further. Its latest proof of concept demonstration battery for the i3 uses 8,064 conventional 18650 cells for a total capacity of 101 kWh.  The battery pack has a maximum voltage of 400 V and a capacity of 101 kWh according to PushEVs.

At the pack level, the battery has a volumetric energy density of 460 Wh/L and a gravimetric energy density of 230 Wh/kg. Using LION Smart’s proprietary battery management system, the enhanced BMW i3 benefits from ultra fast charging capability as well.

To learn more about this demonstration battery pack, check out the YouTube video below.


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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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