The optimistic European WLTP test run showed that a BMW iX with a prototype dual-chemistry battery could go 608 miles on a full charge.
According to the U.S. EPA, that range is about 516 miles, which is a lot more than the BMW iX xDrive50’s usual EPA range of 324 miles.
Our Next Energy (ONE), a battery startup from Michigan that had already changed a Tesla Model S with 752 miles of range, made the new proof-of-concept “Gemini” battery.
Our Next Energy, or ONE, has been working on an electric vehicle battery that is not only more environmentally friendly but also has a longer range and takes up the same amount of room as current EV battery packs. What the Michigan battery company wants to do is use a battery with two different types of chemicals, which it calls “Gemini.”
A lot more range for the iX
ONE’s proof-of-concept battery was put into a modified BMW iX xDrive50. On a full charge, the upscale EV SUV could go 608 miles. That result, though, was based on Europe’s positive (WLTP) cycle. In terms of miles, we think that number would be about 516 miles if we used the EPA’s testing method. The standard iX xDrive50 has an EPA-estimated range of up to 324 miles for the 2022–2023 model years. That’s still almost 200 miles more than that.
ONE’s proof-of-concept Gemini battery has two types of cells, and each has its own battery chemistry. The electric motors get their power from the lithium-iron-phospate (LFP) cathode, which is hard to find in North America right now because it has a low energy density. ONE says it can do 99 percent of daily tasks and gives the iX a range of about 127 miles if you use EPA guidelines.
ONE says that when the main cell runs out of power, it is charged by the second anode-free cell, which has a high energy density and is made from a secret material that is high in manganese and uses very little cobalt and nickel. The Gemini battery, according to the company, cuts the use of lithium by up to 20% and graphite by 60%. This, they say, helps keep costs down and has less of an effect on the environment. Power from the anode-free cell is said to flow through a special DC-to-DC converter. This lets the dual-chemistry battery give the iX an estimated range of over 510 miles (again, based on EPA guidelines).
Not just ONE and DONE
It is important to note that the BMW iX with the dual-chemistry battery is not currently planned to go into production. Like the one that ONE put on a Tesla Model S early last year, its Gemini pack is just a proof of concept. That prototype made it possible for the electric car to go 752 miles on a single charge while driving across Michigan in December. More importantly, it made the latest Gemini battery possible.
A ONE representative told Car and Driver that work on the Gemini is still going on and that the next step is to make another prototype with an unknown automaker. They also stated, “The timing of production will depend on potential customer needs for a specific Gemini application.” We found out that the dual-chemistry battery will not be sold as a separate pack that can be added to privately owned EVs.
A ONE spokesperson wouldn’t say if the company’s decision to lay off 25% of its staff earlier this week would affect the time it takes to bring the Gemini battery to market when asked about it. However, they did say that the decision was made to respond to market conditions and focus on core goals. “Gemini remains a core priority for our company,” they stated.