BMW, one of the big German automakers, has revealed plans to lower battery costs and talked about the idea of setting a common standard for autonomous vehicles.
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One of the challenges faced by car makers as they move from fossil fuels to electric cars is the cost of the batteries these new cars need. Part of the cost is due to the materials needed to manufacture them, such as lithium and cobalt. As more car makers expand their electric fleets, and as demand for lithium rises due to more products using it (smartphones, etc), the prices for these metals increase.
To counter this, BMW wants to reach agreements with mining companies, in order to secure the materials needed at lower prices than its rivals. The company mentioned that, so far, they dispose of one such agreements, but plan on having more. By having such agreements, BMW could have the materials needed for cheaper than the competition, and thus have cheaper batteries, lowering the costs of their vehicles. For their batteries, the company is working with a Chinese battery manufacturer, as well as Samsung Electronics.
BMW also mentioned setting a common standard for autonomous vehicles and forming alliances with other companies to split and lower the costs of creating self-driving vehicles and systems. Other car makers, such as Volkswagen, have also mentioned this recently.
The European car industry has slowly been moving towards electric vehicles, with the current leader in Europe being Renault and their ZOE models. Audi has also recently revealed a new electric car, the “e-tron”, which is manufactured in Brussels (Belgium), as well as Mercedes-Benz. Porsche should also be releasing the “Taycan” (also known as “Mission E”) in 2019, although this vehicle will be geared towards the high-end market.
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