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BMW to use Samsung SDI batteries for 3 Series hybrid

German luxury carmaker BMW said Thursday its new 3 Series plug-in hybrid sedan will use batteries from South Korea’s Samsung SDI.

“We are working on developing the next-generation automotive batteries together with Samsung SDI,” BMW’s head of purchasing and supplier network, Klaus Draeger, told Korean reporters during the company’s annual press conference held at the Munich headquarters.

“The 3 Series plug-in hybrid to be launched next year will also be equipped with Samsung batteries.”

BMW started its i electric vehicle project back in 2009 and since then Samsung SDI has been the sole supplier of lithium-ion batteries for the carmaker’s electric models ― the full-electric i3 compact and the plug-in hybrid i8 sports car.

BMW also plans to use Samsung batteries for the upcoming hybrid versions of its hot-selling X5 sport utility vehicle and 3 Series sedan.

The new supply deals come after the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding in July last year at BMW’s driving center in Korea ― the first of its kind in Asia ― to extend their future partnership, including cooperation in the development of next-generation automotive batteries.

About the possibility of BMW diversifying battery suppliers, the BMW executive stressed the carmaker had no immediate plan to do so considering the still nascent electric vehicle market.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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