BMW will begin testing solid-state batteries in 2023

BMW will begin testing a solid-state battery this year, developed in partnership with US battery technology company Solid Power, the automaker announced this month.

BMW has been working with Solid Power on a solid-state battery for automotive applications since at least 2017.

In the final phase of the partnership, BMW will also build prototypes of Solid Power’s battery in its own battery laboratory near Munich.

The actual testing of the batteries in a prototype vehicle is planned for before 2025. BMW has previously said a solid-state battery vehicle could hit showrooms by around 2030.

Solid state battery cell from Solid Power

Solid state battery cell from Solid Power

The target date is similar to what other automakers like Nissan and Volkswagen Group are working towards. The VW Group has invested in US battery technology company QuantumScape, claiming the company’s battery technology will offer 30% more range and 12-minute charge times. Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai Motor Group have also partnered with a US solid-state battery technology company, specifically Factorial.

The batteries, which derive their name from their solid electrolytes, promise improved range and faster charge times compared to current liquid batteries, as well as improved safety and lower costs. The biggest hurdle remains the manufacture of the batteries in the large quantities required for automotive applications.

“BMW remains committed to the pursuit of solid-state batteries, a technology that we believe has significant potential for the future,” Frank Weber, BMW’s head of research and development, said in a statement.

Ahead of the introduction of solid-state batteries, BMW will unveil a new lithium-ion battery with a round cell design that promises a 30 percent improvement in range compared to a current battery of similar size and weight. BMW will introduce it in a family of electric vehicles codenamed Neue Klasse, German for “New Class”. The first New Class electric vehicles will arrive in 2025 and will include a 3-series sedan and a sporty SUV.