BMW is open to share EV battery cell technology with other carmakers

Article by Andrew Christian, on July 16, 2014

BMW is willing to share the electric-vehicle battery cell technology it co-developed with Samsung SDI to reduce the cost of the cells, BMW purchasing chief Klaus Draeger said. BMW said it intends to hike orders of battery cells from Samsung SDI -- its exclusive supplier -- by between 20 to 30 percent in 2016 from its 2014 level.

The supply agreement was part of a memorandum of understanding inked between BMW and Samsung SDI that also entailed co-development of a next generation of battery cells. Draeger said that Samsung SDI will hike its supply for the BMW i3 and i8.

It will also supply batteries for future BMW hybrid models, beginning with the X5 plug-in hybrid. BMW delivered 5,396 i3 cars globally in the first half of 2014. According to BMW, it increased the daily i3 output to 100 units starting in April and is planning to hike the figure 40 percent at the end of summer.

BMW rolled out the i8 in Europe in June and will start selling it in the United States in August.

BMW and Samsung SDI started their collaboration on lithium ion battery cells in 2009. Samsung SDI also supplies battery cells to Chrysler in the US for the 500e minicar and to Ferrari for the LaFerrari hybrid model. Samsung SDI also supplies batteries to Apple.

The BMW agreement builds on Samsung SSI’s plans to expand its automotive business as it tries to become more competitive against rivals like LG Chem and Panasonic.

Lee Sang Hyun, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities, remarked that the deal will help SDI establish a greater presence in the US and Europe, where it is less known that its rivals.

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