BMW has chosen Bosch’s joint venture with Samsung SDI to supply lithium-ion battery cells for the carmaker’s Megacity electric vehicle project due in 2011-2015.

BMW chief executive Norbert Reithofer said the decision was a major milestone towards serial production of the Megacity.

“With SB LiMotive we have selected a supplier who offers the best available technology, combining leading German automotive expertise with future-oriented Korean battery know-how.”

The Megacity is part of BMW’s ‘Project i’, which is developing new mobility concepts for cities with more than 10m inhabitants.

SB LiMotive, a 50-50 joint venture between the German and South Korean suppliers which recently acquired General Motors‘ hybrid battery supplier Cobasys, specialises in batteries for consumer electronics.

Samsung SDI CEO Soon Taek Kim said : “We want to establish SB LiMotive lithium-ion battery cells as a sustainable product which, after being used in the car, can be reused in other areas or recycled.”

Developing reliable batteries has been a major hurdle in making electric cars but they now provide sufficient range to make such vehicles economically viable. BMW is currently testing about 600 models of its electrically-powered Mini in Britain, Germany and the United States, and mass production is forecast for sometime around 2015.

And Nissan has just rolled out its new Leaf EV which goes on sale in Japan and the US in 2010.