Samsung SDI batteries to drive future BMW EVs

July 15, 2014 // By Paul Buckley
BMW has revealed plans to increase orders of electric vehicle battery cells by 'at least' 20 to 30 percent from its exclusive supplier Samsung SDI in 2016 from its 2014 level.

The supply deal was part of a memorandum of understanding signed between the two companies.  Samsung SDI said the deal was worth "multi billions of euros".

Klaus Draeger, BMW's purchasing chief stated that South Korea's Samsung SDI will not only increase its supply for BMW's i3 and i8 electric cars but start supply for its future hybrid models starting with the X5 plug-in hybrid.

"If we have hundreds of thousands of cars, then of course one would think about additional sources. But at first we need to get more economies of scale," said Draeger.

BMW sold 5,396 i3 cars in the first half of this year globally, compared with a total of 1.02 million vehicles it sold during the period.

Draeger acknowledged that one of the challenges for battery electric cars is the limited driving range called 'range anxiety'.

"This is why the whole industry is still looking very much at fuel cells because it is not clear what is also happening on the side of the electric infrastructure," explained Draeger who added that BMW is also researching a fuel cell vehicle system.

Draeger said BMW also plans to further boost purchasing from South Korean suppliers from over 300 million euros ($408.45 million) in value this year.

Sang-Jin Park, CEO of Samsung SDI said: “The decision taken in 2009 to choose lithium-ion battery cells from Samsung SDI for the BMW i models was the right one for both companies. Additional BMW vehicles will also be equipped with Samsung SDI’s leading lithium-ion technology. This MoU with the BMW Group demonstrates the trust in Samsung SDI’s future technology and efficient mass production capabilities. Both companies are confident that this extended partnership will secure their leadership in future technologies.”

Complete high-voltage batteries for the BMW i3, BMW i8 and other future hybrid vehicles are built on an ultra-modern assembly line at BMW Plant Dingolfing. The only supplied parts are the cells – otherwise