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BMW has said that it’s willing to share its lithium-ion battery technology with other car manufacturers.

For its i3 hatchback and i8 plug-in hybrid supercar, BMW uses lithium-ion batteries that it co-developed with Samsung SDI.

With 5396 i3 hatches sold worldwide in the first half of 2014 and plans to increase daily production from 100 cars per day to 140 by the end of he year, BMW and Samsung are preparing to increase battery production. BMW expects to use 20 to 30 per cent more lithium-ion batteries in 2016 than it will in 2014.

At an event in Korea, Dr Klaus Draeger, BMW’s director of purchasing, spoke to Automotive News and declared that “if Mercedes called us, we would be happy to find a way with Samsung SDI to supply them with battery cells”.

The rationale behind this gesture is that larger volumes will help bring down prices for everyone. According to Samsung SDI, 30 to 40 per cent of the cost of electric cars is due to the price of the batteries.

BMW’s pronouncement comes a month after Tesla opened up its patent portfolio to all and sundry. Both moves are the latest steps taken by automakers to help spur the development and, hopefully, uptake of electric vehicles.

Only a small fraction of the cars sold worldwide are electrically driven. While BMW is pleased that it found homes for around 5400 i3 hatchbacks in the first six months of this year, the company sold a total of 1.02 million vehicles in the same period.




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