Chinese battery giant CATL on Friday said it would start supplying cylindrical batteries to BMW from 2025 to power a new series of electric vehicles. We assume that details will be announced later by BMW itself.
If the change from prismatic to cylindrical cell format is correct in scale, then there must be a good reason behind it. Earlier this month, we heard rumors that BMW is going to use cylindrical battery cells in its next-generation "Neue Klasse" platform, as this type of battery can reduce the cost of the battery system by as much as 30% (compared to the prismatic format).
The list of BMW Group battery cell suppliers includes Samsung SDI, CATL, as well as EVE Energy and Northvolt. According to rumors, BMW would like to receive cylindrical batteries from existing partners. The word "cylindrical" is crucial, but does not say which format is indicated in the table. Tesla recently launched its own production of Type 4680 Cylindrical Cells, a step up from Type 2170 and the previous Type 1865.
Bloomberg NEF notes that in 2021, automakers paid an average of $118 per kWh for batteries at the package level, and battery cells typically account for 80% of the cost of a battery system.
With the significant increase in the cost of battery materials, manufacturers are looking for ways to reduce costs. A Bloomberg report suggests that switching to a cylindrical cell format will help reduce costs.