BMW has finalized a supplier deal with electric boat drive maker Torqeedo to bring its i3 battery system to the water. The battery, originally created for the all-electric BMW i3 compact vehicle, has proven to be versatile and beneficial for numerous applications in transportation and other industries. This latest move demonstrates that BMW is keen to capitalize on it.
Greener and Cleaner Seas
Torqeedo started in Starnberg, Germany in 2005 with the mission to create clean electric water-based propulsion systems. Currently, the company manufactures inboards and outboards as well as hybrid and electric propulsion systems that can range from 1 to 160HP. They have set many standards in the field of water-based electromobile transportation and thus are pioneers of this technology. Torqeedo has always pursued its mission with the vision of preserving the environment.
So when Torqeedo and BMW agreed for BMW to supply i3 battery systems for Torqeedo’s Deep Blue drive systems, BMW considered it a flattering testament to the superb quality of their high voltage batteries.
“BMW i batteries are a model of exceptional reliability and performance in electric mobility. They allow us to deliver cutting-edge electric propulsion and integrated energy management for both recreational and commercial applications.”
– Christoph Ballin, Co-Founder and CEO of Torqeedo
It is not unusual for BMW to produce a product of great quality. It may come as a surprise to those who only know about the company from their cars. But when examined more closely, it is clear that making a great clean battery for transportation was a calculated and strategic move.
No Ordinary Battery
Energy storage is becoming an indispensable technology as renewable and green energy grow in popularity. Tesla’s PowerWall is a household name in its own right. But most do not consider energy storage for other purposes like transportation, where the battery has to withstand conditions not usually encountered in a stationary environment. BMW thought about this challenge and realized that solving it could be great for business.
BMW, short for Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, is primarily known for the luxury and performance vehicles it produces. Started in 1916, the German company has grown to operate 25 assembly and production facilities in 14 countries. It also produces both the Rolls-Royce and MINI line of cars.
The lithium-ion i3 battery is manufactured in a fully automated production line located in the Dingolfing facility. It was designed to satisfy numerous transportation and energy storage needs. The high-capacity battery has an enhanced durable structure to absorb shock and protect the battery cells. 12 battery cells inhabit each of the i3 battery’s 8 modules. These prismatic cells enable the battery to cool efficiently and maintain an even temperature distribution. The compact i3 battery also gives the lowest cost per watt hour in boating that there has ever been.
The i3 batteries come with a ‘plug-and-play’ functionality that make them adaptable for an array of applications. Each battery comes with temperature control systems, sensors, and in-house connectors. Each i3 battery can serve multiple functions throughout its life. For example, they can still be used as a stationary energy storage solution long after they have outlived their capabilities of being used for transportation.
Business Beyond Cars
The electric boat market is estimated to be worth about $20 billion by 2027. This supplier deal with Torqeedo could be the first in many lucrative agreements that BMW makes to leverage their versatile i3 battery for use in other aquatic applications.
Besides this inaugural move to enter the boating industry, BMW has already made similar agreements in other industries. In 2016, they partnered with Beck Automation to use their i3 batteries for stationary energy storage. Today, customers have the option to purchase brand new i3 batteries or refurbished ones that were previously utilized in their car of the same name.
BMW’s current agreements with Torqeedo and Beck Automation hint that the auto maker is focused on supplying their battery technology to other companies in need of energy storage solutions. The next iteration of the i car is not due to arrive until 2021. Until then, BMW plans on introducing its battery technology to its other vehicle models. As the electric trend grows, more car companies will begin to electrify their own line of automobiles. More energy storage options will also become available. But for now, BMW is ahead of the curve.