Our Next Energy (ONE), a Michigan-based energy storage technology company, announced that a BMW iX test vehicle—powered by its Gemini dual-chemistry battery—achieved over 600 miles of range on a single charge.
The demonstration project, conducted in partnership with BMW Group, was announced in mid-2022, with a goal of achieving 600 miles on ONE’s battery, which would be up to around two times more than the production BMW iX.
According to ONE, the final result was 608.1 miles (978 km) under the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) test.
The company also says that the Gemini battery is rated at 450 Wh/l of volumetric energy density on a system level (pack), while the energy content is “185+ kilowatt-hours” in the same space allotted to typical passenger EV packs.
Mujeeb Ijaz, CEO & founder of ONE noted: “Electric vehicles will achieve mass adoption when they offer enough range that people will feel comfortable having an EV as their only vehicle. The Gemini battery has proven it can double the range of EVs and break down the biggest barrier to electrification.”
The result of over 600 miles impressed Jürgen Hildinger, BMW Group New Technologies Head of High Voltage Storage, who said “We enjoy working with the team at ONE and look forward to taking the next steps together,” suggesting that there is a potential for commercialization for Gemini batteries.
The Our Next Energy (ONE)’s Gemini dual-chemistry battery architecture contains two different cell types:
Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells: basic energy density, but high durability to power the motor and meet the demands of 99% of daily trips, with a range of 150 miles
Anode-free cells: high energy density cells rated at over 1,000 Wh/l (as far as we know, LiMnO cathode and lithium metal anode) to provide an additional range of up to 450 miles, from time to time
To make the dual-chemistry battery work, ONE first had to develop a proprietary high-efficiency DC-to-DC converter, which manages the two battery chemistries.
Here are some of the specs of the ONE Gemini battery:
As we can see, there are about twice as many anode-free battery cells than LFP cells in the battery pack. Because the anode-free cells also store more energy in the same volume, they can provide about three-quarters of the range.
ONE says that Gemini is the longest-range EV battery pack that fits in the typical 300-400 liters of space available in a vehicle for energy storage.
We assume, that the high-energy dense, anode-free batteries would not be able to get even close to the durability (cycle life) and power density of the LFP battery cells. This is why they are only supporting the LFP battery with a relatively consistent power output (no surges), during highway driving.
The concept image perfectly illustrates the load on both types of batteries:
According to ONE, having a dual-chemistry battery can reduce the use of precious battery materials (compared to a standard solution with the same energy content, we assume).
The company says that the pack might have 20% less lithium, 60% less graphite, 75% less cobalt, and 100% less cobalt.
The next step after a successful demonstration of the Gemini battery in a BMW vehicle will be refinement of the system to prepare for commercialization.
The works will include “improving the efficiency of the DC-to-DC converter, developing enhanced control algorithms to optimize usage of the range extender cells, and conducting further battery validation and cell development.”
BMW Group’s BMW i Ventures is also an investor in ONE so the Gemini technology might be applied by the manufacturer in the future if it decides that this is a viable solution.
It’s also worth noting that in 2022, ONE’s first prototype vehicle—a Tesla Model S—was able to achieve a range of 752 miles, using a 103.9-kWh battery.
LFP Battery Factory
Earlier this month, ONE announced that started pilot production of domestically made lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cells at its factory in Van Buren Township, Michigan, which at some point in the future is expected to produce 20 gigawatt-hours of batteries annually.
Customer deliveries of the cells produced at the site—initially to validate performance and durability—will start in the first half of 2024.
The total investment is estimated at $1.6 billion and is supported by $200 million in grants from the State of Michigan.