BMW Ups Battery Cell Orders, Plans Recyclable Car For 2040

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BMW plans to still be in business in 2040. That’s good news. At the Munich Motor Show (IAA) this week, it showed off its CirCular concept car, which it says is fully recyclable. It also upped its orders for battery cells from €12 billion to €20 billion. The battery cells for its future electric cars will be supplied by CATL, EVE Energy, SK Innovation, and Northvolt at this point.

According to electrive, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse told the press this week the battery cells will power the i4, the iX SUV, and other electric models coming from BMW by 2024, such as an electric 5 Series sedan and an electric version of the X1. “We are following the market,” he said. “The first half of the year showed that we are growing and gaining market share. We are in the middle of electrification.” According to Zipse, BMW plans to start switching to a new generation of batteries beginning next year. Although, there are no technical details about those next-generation cells.

Electrive reports EVE Energy is a Chinese company that specializes in the development and production of LFP cells. In May, there were rumors it could become Tesla’s second LFP cell supplier after CATL. In addition, EVE Energy is reportedly cooperating with the Israeli company StoreDot to bring its fast-charging “XFC Flash Battery” with a silicon-dominant anode to series production by 2024.

StoreDot 4680 Cylindrical Cells. Credit: StoreDot

Coincidentally, the Times of Israel reported today that StoreDot claims it has created the “world’s first” silicon-dominant battery prototype capable of recharging in just 10 minutes, which it says will be ready for mass production in 2024. 10 minute charging times are the Holy Grail of battery researchers, but here’s the interesting part: The company’s prototypes use the 4680 format preferred by Tesla. StoreDot says it will also offer its XPC Flash battery in pouch cell format and is in negotiations with several global automakers.

BMW CirCular Concept

Courtesy of BMW

The following is what Alex Trebek used to call a “visual daily double.” At the Munich Motor Show (IAA) this week, BMW unwrapped it CirCular concept, a peek into what the company thinks cars of the future might look like. Details are few (actually they are non-existent) except that the car is intended for production in 2040 and it is designed to be 100% recyclable. It embodies the three principles of the circular economy — Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

BMW’s design chief Domagoj Dukec (who is responsible for those outrageously large nostrils on the iX) spoke with with DesignBoom about the concept. He explained, “a sustainable car cannot just be to reduce, reuse, and recycle materials. it also needs to rethink construction, manufacturing processes, and look at our suppliers as well as customers’ desires.”

The company says the CirCular “defines a clean mono-volume that is unbroken from front to rear. Its rising roofline and forward-inclined cowl panel adds dynamism to the silhouette. Below the tailgate at the rear, a sculpted surface furthers this impressions with a striking horizontal movement. The body is left without a paint finish, made from light-gold anodized secondary aluminum instead. This calmer appearance interplays with the more animated, rich bluish purple color at the rear, realized from heat-treated steel.”

Dukec adds, “BMW must be iconic, cool and alive. This is the way to extend a car’s life cycle. The exterior aims to be timeless so that it can be considered fresh for over a decade. To do this, we needed to balance minimalism with expressiveness. This is all about organic, round proportions without styling lines that can go out of fashion relatively quickly.”

Courtesy of BMW
Courtesy of BMW

As with all things, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Electric cars all tend to follow certain design idioms, primarily because aerodynamic efficiency is a critical factor in determining how far they can go on a single charge. We will leave our readers to decide whether the CirCular tickles their fancy or not.

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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." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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