BMW ‘confident’ it can win solid state battery race



  • BMW i3

    BMW’s electric i3 has recently been updated; it has an NEDC range of 186 miles

Jim Holder

Car makers are in a race against time to develop next-generation battery and electrical systems that can deliver a competitive advantage, according to BMW’s outgoing head of marketing Ian Robertson.

At present, the electric cars on sale deliver broadly the same range and performance, with pricing being affected by other aspects of the vehicle. However, Robertson believes some car makers are on the cusp of making breakthroughs that could shift the capabilities and earn them the edge over rivals. “We believe that the next few steps in development will turn batteries from a commodity into something delivering more of a technical advantage,” said Robertson.

Life at BMW: marketing boss Ian Robertson on a 38-year career

“Ultimately, that advantage will probably even out again, but there will be a period where the battery capability will become a defining factor in choice.

“Today, car buyers will choose an engine based on different factors – its power, its economy, its refinement. Some are better than others, and there will be a period where customers will have a choice of batteryperformance in a similar way.” BMW has a long-standing partnership with Toyota in developing battery and hydrogen technology, the latter having revealed its plans to sell solid state batteries by around 2025. Solid state batteries have the potential to deliver greater performance than lithium ion ones, while being smaller and potentially cheaper in time.

Toyota and Panasonic look into automotive battery business

“I’m confident with where we are at,” Robertson said. “Solid state batteries are already working in the lab, but bringing them to production is proving incredibly difficult.”

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Our Verdict

BMW i3

BMW made waves with Europe’s first premium-brand compact EV, and continued development means the i3 keeps upping the ante



BMW bring out advanced products that aren’t quite ready and expect owners to pay out once they’ve managed to limip it out of warranty.   It’s why they’ve had class-action lawsuits against them in the USA and have had to extend warranties out to 10 years in some cases.


Even for fairly standard technology, where they’re pushing the power envelope they don’t care as long as they can get the car to limp out of warranty.   M3 / M4 engine being a good example where the crank shaft pully was slipping.   Apparently, no universal fix has been implemented, meaning they’re ticking timebombs.


“German engineering” may be advanced, but I’d rather have “Japanese reliablity”.



BMW should imitate Musk…..

BMW are being too modest.

What they should have done is made ridiculous claims, boast about massive range, show off some random concept, start taking bookings, boost share prices…..and then continue to under-deliver YoY!

LP in Brighton

Test cycles

Why is it that we have a new allegedly more realistic test cycle and yet we seem to be stuck with the old one for important stuff like electric car range and CO2 emissions – at least in so far as the manufacturers’ target for fleet emissions? The new WLTP test cycle should now be universal.

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