BMW may well open up its patents book with rival manufacturers to supply electric vehicle battery cell technology it co-developed with Samsung SDI, a partnership that began in 2009.
BMW plans to increase the supply-chain of battery cells by at least 20 to 30 percent in 2016 from its 2014 level, the supply deal was embedded into the original contract as part of an understanding that at a future date co-development of battery cell technology would be opened up.
Samsung SDI will increase supply for the BMW i3 battery powered city car and i8 plug-in hybrid sports coupe and will also supply batteries for future BMW hybrid models starting with the X5 plug-in hybrid.
BMW has revealed that it sold 5,396 i3 cars globally in the first six months of 2014, overall the company shifted a total of 1.02 million vehicles in the same period. Production of the i3 currently amounts to 100 per day, BMW will raise output by 40 percent at the end of summer. The i8 hybrid supercar launched in Europe last month and will go on sale in the United States next month.
Samsung SDI currently supplies battery cells to Ferrari for hybrid LaFerrari supercar and to Chrysler for the 500e battery powered minicar . Other markets in the in Samsung’ SDI’s battery cell supply chain include mobile phones, iPhone 5 maker, Apple, is a customer.
LG Chem is a direct competitor and its clients include Tesla, Renault and Panasonic.
The automotive industry is predicted to push up demand for lithium-ion batteries by $21.3 billion in 2020 too $4.4 billion in 2014. One fuel cell accounts for up 30 to 40 percent of an electric vehicle’s manufacturing cost.