BMW is now again expanding battery production in Germany. After BMW opened an e-drive competence centre in Germany and a battery centre in China at BMW Brilliance Automotive in the summer, the BMW plant in Leipzig will now be building battery modules from 2021.
BMW will invest more than 100 million euros in Leipzig by 2022 and occupy a plant area of 10,000 square meters. A total of 150 employees will work in battery module production by 2022. This means setting up a large-scale production facility. While the Munich-based company is not providing any concrete production figures, what is clear, is that the production process for battery modules at BMW is now so standardised that different module variants can be manufactured on the same line. This means that the assembly of the battery modules should not become a bottleneck if the demand between different models such as the 225xe or the 530e develops differently than the carmaker initially forecast.
So far BMW has been assembling its battery packs at three locations: in Dingolfing, in Spartanburg in the US and in Shenyang in China. This network is now being expanded to include the Leipzig location. This is taking place primarily against the background of BMW’s electrification plans for Europe: as early as next year, a quarter of the vehicles sold in Europe are to have an electric drive, in 2025 a third and in 2030 half. For 2023, the BMW Group plans to have 25 electrified models on the road, half of which will have a purely electric drive.
At its largest European production site in Dingolfing, BMW set up a competence centre focusing on e-drive production in early July. In the future, the BMW Group will produce electric drive components there, such as battery modules, high-voltage batteries and electric motors on eight production lines. The cells, which are assembled into modules and packs in Dingolfing, were developed at the Battery Cell Competence Center, which the company opened in Munich in November 2019. The cells can also be manufactured there on a prototype scale, but the actual large-scale production is handled by CATL and Samsung SDI. In Parsdorf near Munich, BMW is reportedly planning to set up its own pilot production facility for battery cells.
In China, the joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive in Shenyang (at the Tiexi location) has recently started assembling the batteries for the purely electric BMW iX3 in another battery centre. The new centre complements the battery factory already opened in 2017, called the High-Voltage Battery Center. According to the manufacturer, production of the BMW iX3 will start in September at the neighbouring BBA plant in Dadong, making transport distances short.
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