BMW to Test a New Battery in the iX Electric SUV Developed By Michigan Startup Our Next Energy Inc. That Can Deliver 600 Miles of Range

BMW to Test a New Battery in the iX Electric SUV Developed By Michigan Startup Our Next Energy Inc. That Can Deliver 600 Miles of Range

Author: Eric Walz   

Automaker BMW will test out a new battery designed by Novi, Michigan-based EV battery startup Our Next Energy Inc. ("ONE") that could deliver up to 600 miles of range on a full charge.

ONE is working to develop lower cost and longer range batteries for electric vehicles. The advanced battery developed by the company is dubbed the "Gemini", reduces lithium content by 20%, graphite by 60% and minimizes the use of nickel and cobalt.

The Gemini battery also includes a proprietary energy management system. 

BMW will incorporate this dual-chemistry Gemini battery into a prototype BMW iX all-electric Sports Activity Vehicle for real world testing. The prototype vehicle is expected to be completed by the end of the year. 

Newer battery chemistries in development can deliver significantly longer driving ranges while using less expensive raw materials could lead to the widespread adoption of EVs, so the partnership with ONE is important for BMW.

"We are thrilled to be working with BMW to demonstrate our Gemini long-range battery technology to consumers," said Mujeeb Ijaz, founder and CEO of ONE. "As EV adoption grows, drivers are learning that real-world conditions can significantly reduce the performance of their batteries. Common situations like maintaining highway speeds, winter temperatures, climbing mountains, towing, or a combination of all four things present challenges to electric vehicles. We plan to pack twice as much energy into batteries, so EVs can easily handle long-distance driving in real-world conditions."  

ONE also developed another battery pack dubbed the "Aries". The 79 kWh Aries battery uses Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry in a structural cell-to-pack architecture. The result is a very high cell to pack ratio of 76%, which offers an energy density of 287 Wh/L, at the system level. 

For comparison, the Tesla Model 3 using LFP battery chemistry has a cell to pack ratio of 49% with an energy density of 173 Wh/L. ONE's Gemini battery pack however is significantly more energy dense.

The Gemini battery design yields 450 Wh/L at the cell level, according to ONE. The company says the Gemini architecture will eventually allow BMW's electric SUVs to travel up to 700 miles on a single charge.

"We are well-positioned to incorporate ONE's IP into BMW's SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) line," said Jürgen Hildinger, BMW Group New Technologies Head of High Voltage Storage. "We are confident that given economic viability, this can lead to commercial opportunities and strategies to integrate ONE's battery technologies into models of our future BEV product line-up."   


In Oct 2021, BMW's Silicon Valley-based venture capital arm BMW i Ventures, announced an investment in ONE.  The investment from BMW was part of a $65 million Series A capital raise led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, which was founded by Bill Gates in 2015. Also participating in the round was Assembly Ventures, Flex Ltd and Volta Energy Technologies.

"Our Next Energy is working to fundamentally reinvent the battery while focusing on sustainability, safety, and cost; three key factors which will help speed the development and adoption of battery electric vehicles," said Baris Guzel, partner at BMW i Ventures. 

ONE was founded in July 2020 by CEO Ijaz, who is a battery systems engineer with over 30 years of experience in the development of electric vehicles and battery systems technologies.Ijaz led teams at Ford Motor Co., where he developed Ford's Edge SUV with HySeries Drive, which combines a fuel cell with lithium-ion batteries. At the time, it was the world's first drivable, fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle with plug-in capability. The vehicle was unveiled in 2007. 

More recently, Ijaz worked as a senior director at Apple, where he developed energy storage solutions for the company's secretive "Apple Car" project.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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