BMW has announced that it will further expand its production capacities for electric drives in Germany. From 2021, battery cells for high-voltage batteries will be coated at the BMW plant in Regensburg, and complete high-voltage batteries will be produced from 2022.
According to an announcement, the company is investing more than 150 million euros in the site to supply batteries to the growing number of its electrified vehicles. The plant already produces plug-in hybrids of the X1 and X2 compact SUVs in parallel with the combustion engine derivatives. In a first step, the coating of battery cells is to begin in 2021, followed in 2022 by the assembly of ready-to-install high-voltage batteries from battery modules.
According to BMW, cell coating increases the mechanical robustness and thermal conductivity of the battery cell. “This allows for improved insulation and cooling of the even more powerful battery cells for the fifth generation of the e-drive,” the communication states. The carmaker refers to the ‘fifth generation’ battery cells, which will be used for the first time in the iX3 and are also to form the basis for the i4 and the series version of the iNext.
“Electric mobility is substantially driving growth for the BMW Group, and this development is also reflected in our e-drive production,” explained Michael Nikolaides, Head of Planning and Production Engines and E-drives. “Now Regensburg will see battery component production added in 2021, followed just a year later by high-voltage battery production. All of this demonstrates that we are consistently ramping up the production of e-drives.”
In July, the automaker opened the ‘E-Drive Production Competence Center’ at its Dingolfing plant, where battery modules, high-voltage batteries and electric motors are to be built. Electric drives will also be built in Landshut. At the end of July, it was announced that BMW intends to set up a pilot battery cell production facility in Parsdorf near Munich, with capacities exceeding those of the “Battery Cell Competence Center” opened in 2019. Battery modules are to be mass-produced at the Leipzig plant (i3, among others) from 2021, which will then be assembled into ready-to-install high-voltage batteries in Regensburg from 2022, for example – but still using cells purchased from CATL and Samsung SDI. In September 2020, battery production for the iX3 also started in China. The BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture will manufacture the batteries.
According to the Regensburg plant manager Frank Bachmann, the investment in the new production area should create “at least 300 sustainable jobs” by 2024″. At the same time, the plant is preparing itself following BMW’s multi-energy strategy to be able to react flexibly to the demand for different drive systems in the future. “We are investing over 150 million euros by 2022 in high-voltage battery production as well as the necessary components,” says Bachmann.
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.
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