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BMW Predicts EV Driving Range To Double In Five Years

Recently, at a conference in Paris, BMW board member Ian Robertson made a claim that, within 5 years, EVs would double their single-charge driving range.

BMW i3

Image: i3 EV via BMW

This statement came alongside the soon to be released BMW i3 EV. While some feel this claim was just to get publicity for the upcoming i3 release, others are not so sure.

If this advancement would happen within 5 years, that would give a typical EV a range of 150 –200 miles from a single charge. This would definitely be a game changer for the EV market. Having an extended driving range has already shown to have a huge impact on EV sales. For example, part of Tesla’s success can be attributed to the Model S and its EPA estimated 265-mile single-charge range.

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Many are pointing to the lithium-air battery, which stores more energy in a battery than lithium-ion technology, as the future of EV battery technology. Robertson believes we will see the advancement in this technology, which will allow a performance leap of 10 times compared to what we have today.

Robertson, also added at the conference in Paris, “that in the next three to four years there will be more progress in battery development than in the previous 100 years.”

It appears Robertson is not alone on his prediction. Peter Fuss, a partner with Ernst & Young, said, “I generally agree with BMW’s statement. Whether the (lithium air) improvement of performance is 2, 5 or 10 times is also very difficult to predict. However, based on my discussions (with engineers and universities) I always hear the quote ‘the improvement of performance through lithium air technology will be significant’ — this will be more than just double the performance.”

There is no doubt that science has been making great strides in the advancement of battery technology. But will the timeframe BMW laid out hold true? Will the answer to an extended EV driving range be in the commercialization of the lithium-air battery? What are your thoughts on this?