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Battery startup Our Next Energy gets investment from BMW i Ventures

BMW i Ventures, BMW’s venture capital firm, has announced that it has invested in the Michigan-based startup Our Next Energy (ONE). The startup aims to help develop lower-cost batteries that also give battery-electric vehiclesmore range.

“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, a partner at BMW i Ventures. “We are convinced that Our Next Energy has the potential to truly transform the space, and we could not be more excited to join their journey.”

ONE has shown two proprietary technologies for its batteries. The first, dubbed Aries, uses lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry within an advanced structural cell to pack architecture. This allows for a high cell to pack ratio and increases overall energy density to increase range and lower cost. The latter is achieved by eliminating nickel and cobalt chemistries. ONE’s Aries battery is 79 kWh and weighs 1,212 pounds. It has a peak power of 237 kW and can continuously put out 119 kW. The battery has also been designed to withstand 3,000 cycles at full depth of discharge during its entire life span.

The second proprietary technology is called Gemini, a dual-chemistry battery developed with two packs linked together by a DC-DC converter and backed by a unique energy management system. This results in a range-extended pack that can push out 450 wh/L and an improved driving range. Artificial intelligence maximizes each battery’s range through seamless power distribution between the two packs. ONE’s Gemini battery will allow conventional trucks and SUVs to travel up to 700 miles per charge thanks to the high energy densities of both batteries. Like the Aries battery, the Gemini unit is built using safe and sustainable materials that are sourced responsibly.

“BMW i Ventures has a proven track record of successful collaboration with startups with leading technologies to shape future mobility,” said Mujeeb Ijaz, CEO, and Founder of Our Next Energy. “We are excited to collaborate with Baris and his team as we work to demonstrate our core technologies.” ONE says it will use the BMW i Ventures investment to scale production for its first products.

Beyond increasing range and lowering costs, the investment in ONE could signal BMW gaining another battery supplier. This could help BMW gain an advantage in the race toward full electrification because these two new battery designs have the potential to give its EVs significantly more driving range. BMW Group has committed to full electrification across all three of its brands by 2030. This includes the introduction of a new lineup of EVs called the Neue Klasse, which will be built as sustainably as possible. One of the first vehicles in this new lineup is reportedly an all-electric 3 Series sedan aimed directly at the likes of the Tesla Model 3.

BMW’s electrification offensive started with the arrival of the iX crossover and i4 sedan. The Neue Klasse vehicles, however, could be the first to benefit from ONE’s new-generation batteries and energy management systems. Mini, which is introducing its final internal combustion engine with the next Countryman crossover, could also use these new battery packs, provided their cost goes down enough to justify using them on subcompact cars and crossovers. The Rolls-Royce Spectre could be among the first to use newly developed batteries in the BMW Group but this may not likely be the units developed by ONE.

Written by Stefan Ogbac
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