The latest BMW i3 is powered by a battery pack with Samsung SDIs 120 Ah cells. Initially, Samsung offered 60 Ah battery cells, followed by 94 Ah until reaching 120 Ah in the 2019 model. The 120 Ah version can then be considered as the third generation of this battery cell, as the dimensions stayed the same. All generations comply with the VDA standard “BEV2”.
Samsung calls increasing the capacity of the cell while maintaining the same form factor and cell dimensions a “sustainable design”, as a higher density can be achieved while retaining the complete battery pack design.
Application of Samsung SDIs 120 Ah cells in current EVs
The 120 Ah battery cell is currently used in the newest release of the BMW i3.
- Battery pack voltage: 352 V
- Energy content (gross / net). 42.2 kWh / 37.9 kWh
- Thermal management: Liquid cooling
- Cell connection: 96s (no parallel cells)
120 Ah Samsung SDI specifications
- Rated voltage: 3.7 V
- Nominal capacity: 120 Ah
- Weight: kg
- Specific energy: Wh/kg
- Material: NCM622
- Cell type: prismatic
Battery cost forecast for Samsung SDI by battery generations
BNP Paribas published a report in 2015, where they estimated the cost per kWh based on the BMW i3 (who is the main automotive client). As the estimates were made ca. 5 years ago, a reality check as of today would be necessary. For the 120 Ah cell, BNP estimated a cell cost of 117 USD per kWh, which is a 44% reduction.
The interesting part is the roadmap of Samsung where they planned to upgrade their cells to 150 Ah. As of today (2020), we have not received any information on this upgrade in the BMW i3. Furthermore, there were discussions if a 160 Ah cell from CATL could be introduced in the BMW i3. This could be a natural move, as the new BMW iX3 is in production in China with cells by the Chinese battery giant. However, we believe that BMW will stick with Samsung SDI for the BMW i3 until its phase-out.
Samsung SDI might introduce a 150 Ah battery cell in 2021. We will update this post in case of new information.
|Gen 1 (~2015)||Gen 2 (2016E)||Gen 3 (2018E)||Gen 4 (2020E)||Gen 5 (2023E)|
|No of cells||96||96||96||96||96|
|Total battery pack price (USD)||6180||5856||5472||5184||4800|
|Price per kWh||294||177||127||97||75|
|Price per cell||64||61||57||54||50|
|Total battery pack cost||9252||6987||4979||4503||4224|
|Cost per kWh||440||211||115||84||66|
|Cost per cell||96||73||52||47||44|
Interesting in buying used Samsung SDI battery modules?
- Samsung SDI 120 Ah module from BMW i3 (Second Life)
- Samsung SDI 94 Ah module from BMW i3 (Second Life)
- Samsung SDI 60 Ah laboratory results