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BMW and Out Next Energy (ONE) Improves Electric Vehicle Range with Gemini Battery

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BMW has joined forces with Michigan-based energy storage technology company Out Next Energy (ONE) to embark on a groundbreaking journey toward enhancing electric vehicle (EV) performance.

Gemini Battery Unveiled

ONE recently introduced a remarkable proof-of-concept battery called Gemini. This cutting-edge battery technology underwent successful testing on a modified BMW iX xDrive50, achieving an astounding range of nearly 1,000 kilometers on a single charge. It's worth noting that this impressive feat was achieved using Europe's optimistic testing cycle, the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP).

Translating the Numbers

To provide a clearer perspective for U.S. audiences, we can convert these numbers using the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) testing methodology. According to Car and Driver, the range would be approximately 516 miles. This is nearly 200 miles more than the standard iX xDrive50, which, for the model years 2022–2023, was previously estimated by the EPA to have a range of up to 324 miles on a full charge.

BMW's Strategic Collaboration

What makes this collaboration even more intriguing is that BMW is not merely partnering with ONE but is also a significant investor in this energy storage technology company. This collaboration has sparked speculation that the renowned German luxury car manufacturer may integrate this groundbreaking battery technology into its future iX electric SUVs, as suggested in the report by Hindustan Times.

Gemini's Innovative Design

Gemini battery boasts a unique design featuring two different cell types, each with distinct battery chemistries. The primary power source for the electric motors utilizes a lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) cathode, known for its low energy density. This cell type is responsible for approximately 99% of daily driving duties, providing the iX with an estimated 127 miles of range when converted to EPA standards.

Car and Driver further elaborates that once the primary cell is depleted, a second anode-free cell with high energy density takes over. This cell, derived from a proprietary material rich in manganese with minimal cobalt and nickel, charges the primary cell and enables the iX to achieve an estimated range of over 510 miles, according to EPA standards.

Sustainability and Cost-Effectiveness

Beyond extending range, the Gemini battery design aims to minimize environmental impact and production costs. ONE asserts that the battery reduces lithium usage by up to 20 percent and graphite consumption by 60 percent, contributing to a more sustainable and economically viable solution for electric vehicles.

Production Plans and Prospects

However, it's important to note that the BMW iX with the dual-chemistry Gemini battery is not currently scheduled for production. The Gemini pack remains a proof of concept, akin to the one retrofitted onto a Tesla Model S by ONE last year. While the prototype demonstrated an impressive 752-mile range, the next phase of Gemini's development involves collaboration with another undisclosed automaker.

A spokesperson from ONE emphasized that the timing of production would hinge on potential customer requirements for a specific Gemini application, as highlighted by Car and Driver. It was clarified that there are presently no intentions to sell the dual-chemistry battery as a standalone pack for retrofitting onto privately owned EVs.

In conclusion, the partnership between BMW and Out Next Energy (ONE) has ushered in a promising era of innovation in the electric vehicle landscape. The Gemini battery's remarkable achievements in range and sustainability hold the potential to reshape the future of BMW's electric SUVs and perhaps even the broader EV industry. While production plans are yet to be finalized, the world eagerly anticipates the next groundbreaking development in this extraordinary collaboration. 

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Thursday, 20 June 2024