Only half a year after opening their Chinese battery factory, the BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture has laid the foundation for a major expansion. The new complex will be called the High Voltage Battery Centre Phase II.
The expansion of the manufacturing site in the Chinese city Shenyang will create additional capacities and will produce new, more powerful batteries of the fifth generation of the BMW eDrive technology for the fully electric BMW iX3. The electric model will be produced in the nearby Dadong factory starting in 2020.
In October, the battery manufacturing line was opened by BMW and their Chinese partner Brilliance, to supply the Dadong manufacturing facility with traction batteries. BBA has been manufacturing the BMW 5er Plug-in Hybrid for the Chinese market, among other things.
It is the third center of its kind within BMW’s global production and supply network. The other two are located in the German Dingolfingen and in Spartanburg, USA. These hubs initially test arriving lithium-ion cells, before combining and assembling the battery modules. These are then fitted in an aluminum casing with ports, control units and cooling aggregates.
It is BMW’s strategy to enable all BMW factories in the world to manufacture BEVs and PHEVs simultaneously as well as ICEs. Currently, ten of BMW’s factories are capable of producing combustion vehicles and hybrids parallel. Integration of battery-electric vehicles is one of the bigger challenges the company is currently facing. According to production chief Oliver Zipse, the next steps will be to improve flexibility and efficiency at the factories.
The Bavarian company sees a fair amount of potential in China in that direction. BBA was founded all the way back in 2003 and has taken over production of BMW vehicle models in the People’s Republic since then. Two factories of the joint venture in Tiexi and Dadong will feature a capacity of up to 520,000 units per year as of 2019.