BMW sees itself leading Tesla on batteries: “Tesla needs to close the gap with us”

BMW is confident that its new battery design holds the key for its upcoming generation of all-electric vehicles. With its new battery in the picture, the German automaker noted that it would be companies like Tesla, not BMW, that would have some catching up to do. 

BMW’s first cylindrical battery cell samples, which would be powering its next-generation EVs starting 2025, are expected to provide 20% more energy and up to 30% more range. The batteries are also expected to feature a 50% reduction in battery costs, as well as 60% lower production-related carbon emissions than current-generation prismatic cells. 

When asked by Automotive News Europe about its strategy to close the gap with rivals like Tesla, BMW Group production boss Milan Nedeljkovic noted that the German automaker would not need to catch up to anyone. “Tesla needs to close the gap with us. In fact, we don’t see a gap to Tesla,” he said. 

At a media event last week, the BMW executive shared some optimistic insights about the automaker’s battery technology. He also expressed some excitement about BMW’s new line of electric motors, which Nedeljkovic would be different from others in the market. 

“What we have here is a battery design that suits our products and our idea of how driving performance is fulfilled in our cars. That is why we have our own design of electric engines as well. And they are completely different to others in the market,” he said. 

While BMW’s enthusiasm about its new generation of batteries is admirable, the German automaker may end up facing challenges as it ramps up the production of its new EV batteries. Even industry leader Tesla, after all, ended up facing difficulties ramping the production of its 4680 cells, which were unveiled during Battery Day in 2020. Elon Musk has also noted in the past that mass producing new technology is an extremely difficult endeavor.

That being said, BMW does seem to be on the right path with its next-generation batteries. Apart from its cylindrical format, which is similar to Tesla’s 4680 cells, BMW’s new batteries feature higher nickel and less cobalt content, making them more environmentally friendly. The German automaker also noted that it is aiming to reuse 95% of the materials that will be used in its high-voltage electric vehicle batteries. 

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BMW sees itself leading Tesla on batteries: “Tesla needs to close the gap with us”
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