The German manufacturer BMW is seeing sales of its electric cars continue to grow, and that is why it has set to work to ensure that access to batteries is not a problem. To this end, it has signed the third supply agreement, which this time features the Chinese company SVOLT.
This is indicated by the Chinese media , but there is still no official confirmation, which publishes the agreement signed by BMW with SVOLT, which will become the Germans’ third battery supplier, after CATL and Eve Energy.
In total, BMW will invest 13 billion dollars in this contract, approximately 12.3 billion euros at the current exchange rate, which would be the largest contract signed so far by BMW for the acquisition of batteries for its electric cars.
It is estimated that this will involve the delivery of about 90 GWh, for a total of 160 GWh, so the remaining 70 GWh will be shared between CATL and Eve Energy. What we do not know at the moment is what chemistry SVOLT will use for this agreement which will involve building several gigafactories, also in Europe, and that will begin to come into force in 2027.
Among the priorities seems to be manufacturing cobalt-free batteries. A controversial, expensive, and complex component to recycle, which developers want to remove from their next batteries, but which is a challenge since it means reducing their energy density.
An aspect where it seems that SVOT itself has the advantage, betting very heavily on the LMFP chemistry (lithium iron and manganese phosphate) that will be placed halfway between batteries with and without cobalt, with a remarkable energy density, and range. Estimated 900 kilometers with each charge.
A configuration that dispenses with cobalt, which makes them more economical, 9.5% cheaper than NCM according to the manufacturer, with an energy density that places it above lithium-fluorophosphate, 220 Wh/kg, and volumetric density of 503 Wh/kg. L, in a configuration that will begin manufacturing in 2024 for the Chinese market, and a year later for the export market.
While waiting to know more details, BMW will pull from the current agreements that will involve equipping CATL and Eve Energy batteries from 2025. And we also know and above all that these are cylindrical lithium batteries, which offer very good energy density, replacing prismatic cells.
It also remains to be seen where the new SVOLT factories will be located in Europe, where it is rumored that they are preparing up to five locations. Two confirmed in Germany, Thuringia (Germany) and Saarland (Germany), and three others are rumored to have at least one location in Spain, from where it will feed demand from clients such as Stellantis, which has three car factories (Madrid, Vigo, and Zaragoza).