BMW puts €200M into Munich plant to make electric i4
With investments of around 200 million euros in its Munich plant, BMW is getting ready for series production of the all-electric BMW i4. The investments will go into the building and logistics but more so the production as the i4 differs considerably from the models usually made here.
The BMWi4 was shown as part of the company’s “Vision Dynamics” electric concept presented at last year’s IAA. At the time, BMW was already planning to build the BMW i4 at their main plant in Munich.
The aim is to start series production in 2021, a date that had previously been floated and linked to battery technology – BMW wants to ensure a range of 600 km for the i4.
In Munich, the electric car to roll off the same assembly line as cars with combustion engines and plug-in hybrids. This is part of BMW’s strategy of creating a flexible production structure. “Integrating a fully electric vehicle into an existing production system during ongoing production is a Herculean task,” says Robert Engelhorn, head of the Munich plant currently employing around 8,000 people.
In order to become a production site for electric vehicles and mobility concepts, BMW has had to work hard in Munich, especially in body construction and vehicle assembly: The i4 body concept differs considerably from the architecture of the models they usually produce in the factory. The company describes a number of such challenges, for example, the battery in the body shop requires an almost completely independent floor assembly including rear-end production. Not only that but specialised, space-consuming conveyor belts and system technology had to be installed during assembly.
Also at this BMW plant, production of the BMW 3 series plug-in hybrid is set to start next year. “The BMW 330e has undergone several conceptual changes compared to its predecessor, which are having a significant impact on the production process,” says the BMW headquarters. The partly electric car will be available from summer onwards and preparations for this are in full swing. The company wants to be prepared for the possibility of high demand: “If necessary, almost every third BMW from the parent plant could be a 3-series plug-in hybrid,” Engelhorn says optimistically. The predecessor PHEV had a maximum capacity of around ten per cent of a day’s production.
Currently, up to 1,000 cars per a day are produced in Munich, including the BMW 3 series Sedan, the BMW 3 series Touring, the BMW 4 series Coupé and the BMW M4 Coupé.
bmwgroup.com (in German)