This BMW iX will test a battery with double chemistry to reach 1,000 km of autonomy

The most typical lithium batteries, with nickel and manganese cells, offer the best performance today but are expensive. The lithium-ferrophosphate (LFP) sacrifice performance but in return are cheaper to manufacture. So manufacturers have to choose one or the other depending on their objectives. And why not unite both in the same battery? It sounds a bit crazy, but it is what Our Next Energy (ONE) offers in its Gemini Dual-Chemistry battery, with which it wants to achieve 1,000 kilometers of autonomy in a BMW iX.

Last year BMW, through its investment subsidiary BMW i Ventures, participated in a financing round of 65 million dollars from the American startup ONE, dedicated to the development of battery technology. As a result of that first rapprochement, the two companies will now carry out a pilot test with a Gemini Dual Chemistry battery prototype of ONE, which will be installed in a BMW iX with the aim of reaching 600 miles of autonomy (965 kilometers), almost double the original model.

The name of the battery (Dual Chemistry) refers to the combination of two chemicals in the cells from the same battery. The battery has two parts, one with lithium-ferrophosphate (LFP) cells, with lower energy density and without cobalt, nickel or manganese; and another part of the battery has NMC cells, a ternary chemistry composed mainly of manganese, in addition to nickel and cobalt, which provides higher energy density. ONE’s technology reduces lithium usage by 20%while reducing the use of graphite by 60% and minimizing the use of nickel and cobalt.

A part of the battery only acts when a lot of power is required

Each part of the battery has a different purpose. The idea is to use one or the other depending on the circumstances. The part called “traction”, made up of LFP cells, will provide 99% of the vehicle’s total kilometers, according to its developers. While the “long range” cells rich in manganese will only act in 1% of the routes, only when high levels of power are required. This reduces stress and damage to lithium iron phosphate cells.

One more simple promise or a serious proposal?

Says the American startup that can offer a battery with a energy density twice that of current electric vehicles, while focusing on “safer” and “sustainable” battery chemistry obtained through a “conflict-free” supply chain with cheap and ethically sourced manganese. In theory, it is almost ideal.

From time to time we tend to hear promising technologies which, on a good handful of occasions, do not go beyond the laboratory. However, the Gemini prototype it will start testing in a BMW iX that will roll on the road later this year. It will first be verified that the battery works properly in actual use; later BMW and ONE will work together on more tests with the aim of studying the economic viability of manufacturing this technology on an industrial scale.

The battery will be installed in the same space as the original, but its capacity has not been revealed.

“We are confident that, given economic feasibility, this can lead to business strategies and opportunities to integrate ONE’s battery technologies into models in our future electric product line,” said Jürgen Hildinger, Group Head of High-Voltage Batteries. BMW. The cells of this first prototype will be manufactured by one or more of the four suppliers with ONE, established both in Asia and North America (who they are has not been published).

Last year ONE traveled more than 1,200 kilometers in a Tesla with an experimental battery

At the end of last year ONE carried out a test with one of its experimental batteries, which it installed in a Tesla Model S. The company managed to install a battery with 207.3 kWh capacity, twice as much as the original battery, occupying the same space. Of course, it weighed 331 kg more than the battery that the Tesla had from the factory. ONE managed to traverse 1,210 kilometers on a single chargeat an average speed of 89 km/h and with winter temperatures (which tend to negatively affect battery autonomy).

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