BMW Electric Car VP: In Just 7 Years, Battery Capacity Will Double


Fuel economy comparison by EPA (BMW i3, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Chevrolet Spark EV)

Fuel economy comparison by EPA (BMW i3, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Chevrolet Spark EV)

BMW’s Stefan Juraschek, vice president of electric-powertrain development, made a rather odd statement to reporters at BMW’s testing facility in Munich.  In regards to electric cars, Juraschek stated:

“We simply have to walk through the valley of tears.” 

i3 5

Samsung SDI Cells Used In BMW i3

According to reporters on the scene, Juraschek’s comment meant that he’s not impressed with today’s electric cars, and that both BMW and the consumer would have to put up with subpar electric for quite some time until technology allows for impressive plug-ins.  Hmm…perhaps he’s never heard of Tesla?

Juraschek made another comment though and we believe he meant it to be negative, but that’s not how it strikes us. Juraschek stated that we’ll have to wait 7 years to see a battery like that found in the BMW i3 to have double the capacity of today’s i3. Just 7 years to double capacity? That’s promising.

Juraschek’s overall outlook on electric cars seems solid though, and he openly admits that consumers want (and BMW will deliver) “bigger electric cars and longer driving ranges.” 

Overall, kind of a mixed bag of responses from Juraschek, but at least he understands that the demand is there and says that BMW is willing to step up to the plate, so to say.

Source: Bloomberg

Categories: BMW

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60 Comments on "BMW Electric Car VP: In Just 7 Years, Battery Capacity Will Double"

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Between 350kW chargers, 300-400 mile range, and Fossil fuel companies self limiting production to keep prices high…

2024-2025 is looking like game over for ICE!

I found out news that OPEC is going to cut another 350,000 barrels of oil a day to the global supply.

If oil prices do show signs of going up it’s going to make more people buy a ev.

As for me once the range of a used EV for under $8,000 reaches a 150 miles I get one.

Out of curiosity, how often do you drive 150 miles at once?

When I bought my Volt, I thought that I would be using the range extender all the time, and that 40 miles would rarely get me through a day.

After 3 years of ownership, and not changing my driving habits at all, I’ve found that the exact opposite is true. I rarely use the range extender, and 40 miles gets me through most days.

The exception being when we take an out of town trip.

Overall, I drive 80% or more in EV mode, and drive more miles than the average person.

I can have days as much as once a week were I will go to a theme park and have to drive a 150 miles in one day to get there.

I’m also worried that if I get a low range EV I could possibly get a new job that could case me to have to drive 30 or 40 miles one way to it.

A example is of this is I once got a call for a job to mow the grass at a solar farm but the catch was they would want me to drive one to two hours to neighboring solar farms anywhere from 50 to 90 miles away for cutting the grass.

During the summer I drive over 300 miles every weekend, my Volt handles it just fine. In the winter I’m almost all electric so as of now my Volt is at 52% electric for its first 8000 miles. The longest day trip I’ve taken is 375 miles which the Volt did with 2 gallons to spare. The magic number for me is 450 miles of battery range, about twice what the Bolt can do. The 7 year estimate for doubling battery capacity sounds about right, hope it’s pessimistic, but when that happens I can trade in my Volt for a pure electric but not before that.

I have bad news for. Only used Tesla goes 150 miles and they don’t loose value like conventional cars.
And the Bolt will hold up it’s value as well as Tesla if the battery doesn’t degrade.
I suggest starting with an used Volt if u need the range…

In the scheme of things Ice cars and hybrid cars now are were steam locomotives were in the middle to late 1940’s. At this point in time steam locomotives were powerful as they could with the tech they had at the time.

At the same time I personally think EV batteries are were computers were in the middle 1990’s. This is due to the fact that up in till i phones were invented there really wasn’t much large scale demand for batteries that lead acid or nickle rechargeable batteries could meet.

As of now we are going to see batteries making up for a lot of lost time.

Yes, my take on it was that BMW is saying it would take them 7 years to double the capacity of their crappy sub 100 mile cars.

My take on it is that instead of increasing the size of their battery packs, BMW is gonna wait for battery sizes — and prices — to come down to where they can fit a battery pack with double the capacity into the same space, and at the same price. If that’s to be taken at face value, then there’s no chance BMW is gonna compete in the 200+ mile BEV category, at least not for the next 7 years or so.

The exact opposite of innovation! And this attitude is why Tesla is in no danger of the legacy auto makers catching up with their technological lead in the field, at least not within the next few years.

Nah, you’re reading too much into it. At face value he said (to quote IEV) “we’ll have to wait 7 years to see a battery like that found in the BMW i3 to have double the capacity of today’s i3.”

That makes no statement at face value about what they plan to build, just about what improvement they expect from a pack ‘like that found in the BMW i3’.

I have no doubt BMW is well aware of the success of Tesla competing in the high end sedan and SUV markets right this moment with bigger packs and have plans to compete directly against them well before they can get 66 kwh out of a battery like the one in the i3.

Yes, you are absolutely right. BMW is typical of legacy manufacturers, and instead of focusing on the advantages of electric they only see the shortcomings. The biggest barrier for legacy autos is their incredible pushback from within their organizations. It’s a battle all the way inside the corporations: you have to sell the board, then the design teams, engineering etc. but the very BIGGEST problem is outside their head offices and plants: the dealers. They hate electrics and turn off customers in droves. I couldn’t believe it until I saw it first hand. I own a Leaf but getting support from local dealers is like getting sympathy from a witch. I will hold on for a Model 3 if I can.


I’m actually hoping for some graphene based battery breakthrough that that would allow for recharging a car battery within a few seconds. Capacity and range would become secondary.

I keep hoping for that, too! But I’ve been waiting for years, so not holding my breath.

However, we should note that while the battery cells might be capable of being charged in seconds, nobody is gonna build a network of EV superfast chargers that will charge a car in less than a minute. The power hookup for that would be much too expensive. (That is, the limit will be power provided from the grid to the charger, not energy provided from the charger to the battery.) I think that a 5-10 minute charge is the best we can reasonably expect.

Do you understand how much power that would require? It’s not just the battery. 100 kWh in a couple of seconds would mean that you would need to connect a nuclear power plant directly to your battery.

Or have a big one of those batteries at the charging station, which can be charged at a slower rate and discharged into the car at the fast rate. No nuclear power plant necessary!

So, the first customer of the day gets his battery charged in seconds, but the customer coming along 5 minutes later has to wait 30-45 minutes?

Not a very good business plan.

These “you would need a 1 foot diameter cable” posts are getting very tiring. Go study a book on basic electricity.

Here is a quiz for you:

What is the minimum power voltage of overhead power lines in the USA?

1. 5 volts.
2. 110 volts.
3. 240 volts.
4. 13.5 kilovolts.

If you didn’t get the right answer, do us all a favor and shut the hell up.

Ditto if you don’t know which is the right answer.

Ditto ditto if you aren’t sure beyond the shadow of a doubt what the right answer is.

I admit. I dunno. I’m going with 110V. Because that’s what you get referenced to neutral if you take one of the overhead lines from overhead residential service.

It’s possible you meant the lines that go from transformer to transformer (transmission lines?) in that case it’s probably higher.

I’m also not sure how relevant it is. But I do know that “power voltage” doesn’t make sense. Power is measured in Watts, not Volts.

100 kWh is 360.000 kWs is 360 MWs
To charge in 10 seconds u need 36 MW charger.
I think u should go study a book of electricity.
Btw: no such things as power voltage…..

Why not use your time to educate us rather than to just be rude, sarcastic and ignorant?

Because he IS rude and sarcastic, he just demonstrated that. A person like that has some major mental issues.

It’s probably even higher than those 13kV even.. in Oz they run 19/22kV on wooden poles 8m in the air through urban/rural areas.

But I’m pretty sure you don’t want a pantograph on your car to be able to pick up a charge on that voltage level.
Dry air insulates roughly at 1kV per millimeter.
This means, for 20kV you need 20mm or nearly an inch.
If you look at porcelain isolators on those lines they are a bit longer to also take into account rain and snow.

How you want to build a charger for those voltages with current tech that is also save escapes me though.

To charge a 100kWh battery in 30 seconds would require an electrical line/power plant with 12mW capacity. To build such chargers would be a huge waste of money.

In fact, anything over 150kW charging would be unnecessary. Trying to emulate ICE usage patterns with EVs only shows how people don’t understand EVs (I am referring to the unrealistic 350kW german charging network here…)

tosho said:

“In fact, anything over 150kW charging would be unnecessary.”

Hmmm, if you mean unnecessary for the current generation of PEVs (Plug-in EVs), then yes. But looking to the future, that’s not going to be sufficient to make PEVs fully competitive with gasmobiles.

Competition will inevitably drive superfast charging times down to 10 minutes, or even less. I expect to live to see 500 kW charging of passenger cars become commonplace, and possibly even 1 MW charging. 500 kW chargers for BEV city buses are already being used.

Related: see “White House Targets 350 kW, 10-Minute EV Fast Charging”

Proterra’s 500 kW bus charger:

And I am hoping for sex with outer space aliens.

I think my chances are better….

It’s the later one of course, but this is still only the voltage between phase and ground, but if you have three phases, then you have 25 000 volts phase to phase.

I prefer that one.
Just don’t touch the wire anyhow.

“outer space aliens”… as opposed to… Mexicans, for example?

Mexicans are fine, just basically just as unlikely 😉

Sounds like he has some cognitive dissonance going on.

Seems more like it’ll double in 7 days.

Mostly what it takes is the willingness to make a car with double the range. Tesla did so years ago and GM is going to do so any day now.

The city car idea that spawned the i3 is a good one. But technology doesn’t preclude longer-range cars. So BMW really just has to jump in and make one.

7 years for them to do 60+ kWh in a car (double the BMW i3 33 kWh)?

If they actually believe that then it’s sad, so sad.

Obviously he means to double energy density for the same battery pack size & total cost. Actually total pack cost should go down even below current cost to be competitive with ICE other than city commuter car niche.
Technically it isn’t big deal to double battery size as GM and Tesla has shown, but price tag is still a bit too high for mass market mildly speaking.
I may want to change it in 7 month, but 7 years is probably is more realistic time period.

Another Euro point of view

7 years sounds a little pessimistic but as a ICE driver & EV fan I still do not see coming on the horizon the EV that combines price/range/practicality of my current ICE (that is for my driving habits). Either to short a range or too expensive or too small, offer is currently just way to restricted. I just don’t want to drive a car that either look like a toaster (Bolt) or is absurdly expensive (Tesla).

The human aspect of gigantic tech. changes, like the electrification of transportation, is endlessly fascinating. We’re seeing a vast set of changes in viewpoints, from customers to dealers to manufacturers and suppliers unfolding all at once and interacting with each other.

I think we’ll continue to see some car companies drag their feet for some time, and to varying degrees. BMW seems like they really do “get it” at times, and then we hear something like this 7 years silliness from them.

As I keep saying, I think that in not too many years, we’ll be talking about the things going on now in the EV sectors with same sort of disbelief and amusement that computer people experience when we discuss dial-up modems, AOL sign-up disks, etc.


Not all technologies grow like micro electronics do. E.g. Aviation : we are stuck at having aircraft that travel at high subsonic speeds for over 50 years now. The reason for that is that there is a physical limit to how efficient supersonic flight can be. It is extremely diffucult to make this work. Much in the same way, the speed at which battery power- and energy (specific) density and cost changes over time is very different from Moore’s law. IBM was promising Lithium-air batteries as long as 10 years ago, saying we should have had them by now… Progress seems to be steady and constant. 7% cumulative in cost as well as performance per year is a very good pace, and it would not be realistic to expect more.

There are a lot of potential breakthroughs in development, from lithium-air to solid state batteries to high-density supercapacitors to lithium-silicon. What I think is unusual is the fairly steady pace of lithium-ion tech advancing at about 7-8% percent improvement in energy density per year, over the past 25 years.

Before 1991 we saw quantum jumps in the tech, from lead-acid to NiCad to NiMH. While we certainly can’t predict when the next quantum jump in battery tech will come along, we can be fairly confident it will happen sooner or later. After all, at least in theory, batteries could achieve the energy density of gasoline. The room for improvement there is quite large. One might even say: orders of magnitude!

Funny thing about numbers – 7 years at 7 per cent is 60 percent better

10 per cent annual improvement over 7 years and, blammo!, you get BMWs double.

@Eric Loveday in the original Bloomberg article, the “tears” quote is clearly related to the current lack of profitability of EVs, and not to any suggested “subpar” functionality. I find nothing odd about that comment, really. Please use the original quote with context.

EVs will only realy competitive with ICE as soon as 180Kwh for larger or luxury vehicles and 100Kwh for affordable mid sized vehicles is both affordable and practical (without increasing the weight and size as compared to curretn packs). Only at those capacities can you practically drive for 300-400km between charges at european highway speeds (130-180kph in the REAL world), in the winter (0 to -20C) with some headwind, in rain, with a comfortable cabin. If the manufacturers or providers realy manage to put a widespread 350kw peak power per point (200ish Kw average), charge system in place, that allows REAL stops between 15-30 minutes, then we are talking. Before that, Juraschek is right. Try convincing the average BMW 5, or even 3 series driver to buy a car that does anything less than that,… forget it. I am an EV owner and driver, and would never go back to ICE, but am nevertheless convinced we will have to wait 6-8 years longer before we have realy arrived…

Tesla is sure looking to prove you wrong starting the end of next year with the Model 3, which looks like it could convert a whole lot of BMW 3 series drivers.

BMW knows it and is rushing a 100% Electric 340e to market STAT. Mercedes and Jaguar as well.

Good times ahead.

And how do you know this? AFAIK, BMW hasn’t said anything like this, nor have there been rumors to that effect.
The consensus seems to be that the next i-car will be something in the 5-series size, and it’s not clear whether it’ll be a BEV or (real-electric-distance) PHEV — sometime in 2018/9 .

No, I think Fred is correct. The Chevy Bolt and the Tesla Model ≡ do represent quite an improvement over the previous generation of BEVs, but the tech still isn’t good enough to honestly say it’s fully competitive with gasmobiles.

Sorry, but even as an EV advocate, I think we need to face reality: Fully competitive BEVs will require battery cells that cost about half what they do today and can be charged in 10 minutes or less without significant overheating or premature aging.

I’ve been hoping to see the gasmobile become obsolete since I was a teenager, but the average person simply isn’t going to pay a $10k premium for an electric car, nor put up with waiting 30+ minutes — or even 20 minutes — to charge en route.

And again, purchase price does not matter at all! When you compare ICE and electric cars, please do it by the total cost of ownership and not by the purchase price alone. And don’t forget to include indirect costs like the impact on the climate, dependency on some dictator’s oil and etc. And stop calling yourself an EV advocate…

Rick (no, not that Rick)

Sorry, Tosho, but not only does price matter, it’s one of the primary considerations for the majority of car buyers. The impact on the environment doesn’t matter to them either, nor which dictator their gas comes from, as long as they can get it at a good price. I realize this might be offensive to you, but it’s reality.

tosho said:

“And again, purchase price does not matter at all!”

What planet do you live on?

“When you compare ICE and electric cars, please do it by the total cost of ownership and not by the purchase price alone.”

Since I am an EV advocate, I’m fully conversant with the TCO argument. I’m also fully aware that it has very little if any effect on real-world car buying decisions.

“And stop calling yourself an EV advocate…”

Sorry, I must have missed the announcement. Who was it that died and appointed you Supreme Being? 😉

I think it’s both more complicated and simpler than you suggest. More complicated in that an EV can be fully competitive without matching up in every attribute of an gas car because the EV is better in some things: i.e. acceleration, cost of fuel and maintenance, ‘green’, etc …

Simpler in that we can just look at the numbers of sales in a given price bracket and say whether or not the EV is fully competitive. In the $80k+ price brackets for sedans and SUVs Telsa is already fully competitive in that they are close to matching or clearly outselling all competitive vehicles.

I expect the Model 3 to similarly demonstrate full competitiveness by matching or outselling all competitive vehicles: after Tesla ramps up volume the Model 3 will be fully competitive in the compact sport-luxury sedan market.

BenG said: “an EV can be fully competitive without matching up in every attribute of an gas car because the EV is better in some things: i.e. acceleration, cost of fuel and maintenance, ‘green’, etc …” Indeed, and I get a bit exasperated when people claim that EVs will never be fully competitive with gasmobiles until you can recharge them as fast as you can fill a gasmobile’s gas tank. That simply isn’t so. People don’t demand that a new product be every bit as good as the old in every single way, if the new product offers some advantages over the old. If they did, then nobody would be using cell phones, because you certainly can’t depend on getting as good a voice quality or dependability of connection with a cell phone as you get with a land line! I feel confident that the average person would put up with a 10 minute wait time for on-the-go charging, assuming they only make a few long-distance trips a year, considering all the advantages that BEVs offer over gasmobiles. It will likely be more difficult to get the small minority of those who are always on the road, such as traveling… Read more »

The Bolt on the other hand, is not going to be fully competitive. It is priced, even after rebate, $5k higher than comparable ‘hot hatches’ and it’s long range capability is poor because of lack of infrastructure. It will not match or outsell comparably priced ICE vehicles.

The Model 3, though, with it’s luxury trappings and image, the Supercharger network, and price that should be equal, before rebate, to a comparable BMW. It will be fully competitive.

The inflection point for ‘fully competitive’ EVs is price dependent. We are there at $80k+. In 2018 we will be there for $45k+ with the upper end Model 3s that will be available. And in 2019 we will be there at $35k+ with the lower end Model 3s that should then be available.

It may take 7 years for the inflection point to move all the way down to a Corolla equivalent.

You make a lot of good points there; well said, sir.

However, I don’t see quite the night-and-day difference between the Bolt and the Model S that you do. I think there will be a pretty good market for the Bolt, even if it’s not seen as “sexy” or “trendy” as a Model ≡.

The Bolt is certainly more practical in certain respects, such as carrying large items of cargo.

Also, just ask BMW and Mercedes how competitive the Model S is in the $80,000+ sedan market. It competes very well indeed, right now, and both Model S and Model X are going to kick the competition’s butts big-time in December sales this year.

What’s the big difference between doing 400km at 130km/h and doing 2X200km with a 20 minute charging break between them?

‘at european highway speeds (130-180kph in the REAL world)’
130 kmh is the speed limit in most european coutries. Only Germany has no speed limit.
I suggest don’t do that (180) in the Swiss or u can end up in jail, no matter if EV or ICE…

I took his comment to mean that there will be 7 years of crying and painful trial and error.

But I work in product development, and that is normal for more fundamental research like batteries.

I am waiting for yttrium batteries with 3 valence electrons, so potentially 3x more charge per volume.

Yttrium is odd. It has a high atomic number, but it has a small atomic radius. S,all enough to fit between graphite sheets if understand it correctly.

Now if only someone could figure out how to manufacture near-flawless graphene sheets which don’t quickly break down over time, and in industrial quantities….

I’m confident that will happen eventually. But many companies and research teams have been trying hard to accomplish that for quite a few years now, and so far bupkis. 🙁

Slight issue with the 60kwhr chevy bolt being roughly the same size of the 33kwhr bmw I3, no?

I read this in an article today. “Bobby Edmonds, a software developer with a family of four from Castro Valley, California, replaces a BMW i3 with the Bolt EV.” If this happens often enough, I can guarantee you we will not have to wait 7 years to see the range on the BMW i3 double.

One thing we often overlook is the significance of Tesla going with high volumetric density 18650 cells while Established carmakers chose the much lower density prismatic cells.

If BMW had gone with 18650s like Tesla did, let’s see how large of a battery the i3 could have launched with.

I3 battery pack volume = about 140 Liters.
Tesla Model S pack = about 214 Liters.

Original Model S capacity = 85kWh or 85,000Wh.
85,000/214 = 397Wh per Liter

i3 with 18650 cells = 397*140 = 55,600Wh or 55.6kWh.

So the i3 could have launched with a 55.6kWh battery pack with over 200mile range in 2014 instead of the 21.6kWh and 81mile range it launched with.

Didnt someone already double i3 battery capacity using higher energy density 18650 cells?

How is it possible that the 2017 Chevy Bolt, which is heavier and little bigger over-all, but is still more fuel efficient than the 2017 BMW i3?