BMW expects that around 2026 it will be able to introduce radically improved batteries - of the solid-state variety, which differ from the conventional lithium-ion cells of today by having solid electrolyte in place of liquid electrolytes.
There is still apparently some 10 more years needed to finish research and test durability prior to commercialization (holy cats!), which naturally gives us a healthy dose of skepticism.
The 2017 BMW i3 gets an upgraded 33.4 kWh battery, good for 114 miles of range
According to the article, new solid-state batteries to have many advantages:
- 15-20% increase in capacity
- less weight
- reduction in the amount of safety protection needed due to the reduced fire risk
- the packaging and housing of the batteries to be simplified
With all that said, and to take nothing away from the 15-20% gain in capacity - which sounds great, almost no one looking for a new plug-in vehicle has uttered the statement "man, I wish these batteries were just a touch denser," generally the consensus is that consumers just want their EVs cheaper and to go further, and if that means adding an extra 100lbs, or stealing an extra cu ft or two under the floorboards...then so be it.
Before we live to see any solid-state batteries, around 2018 BMW is expected to upgrade current battery technology for its upcoming all-electric MINI and BMW X3.