BMW kicks off production of the iX1 in Germany
BMW has started series production of the iX1 electric SUV at the plant in Regensburg. The all-electric model, which was presented in June, rolls off the production line there on a flexible production line with all drive forms on one line. This means that electric cars are now being built in all German BMW plants.
As announced in June, with the start of production of the iX1, combustion engines, plug-in hybrids and fully electric models will be built on one line in Regensburg. In the case of the iX1, production in Regensburg makes additional sense: the high-voltage battery for the compact SUV is also built at the plant, so the transport distances for the ready-to-install battery are minimal – BMW buys the cells, which of course have to be brought to Regensburg in advance.
At the end of September, BMW announced the market launch of the iX1 xDrive30 for November 2022 – so it was clear that production would start in November at the latest. When exactly the first vehicles are to be delivered is not specified by the Munich-based company in its announcement of the start of production.
The plant had already started painting battery cells in April 2021. In the process, the aluminium housings of the prismatic cells are coated with a thick varnish, which, according to BMW, increases the mechanical robustness and thermal conductivity of the battery cell. By the end of 2021, painting was expanded from one to four lines, and in October 2022, assembly of the high-voltage batteries also began. By the end of the year, more than 400 people will be employed in Regensburg’s e-component production.
Vehicle assembly is based on the principle of the ‘BMW iFactory’. A digital twin is to enable highly efficient planning of future plant structures and production facilities. The plant’s paint shop relies on the benefits of artificial intelligence, and AI is also used in vehicle assembly. Specifically, AI-assisted image recognition methods are there to support employees during quality inspections.
“We are delivering the goods. By 2024, at least one in three BMWs coming out of our Bavarian plants will be an electric car,” says Board Member for Production Milan Nedeljković. Carsten Regent, Head of the BMW Group Plant Regensburg, adds: “The electrification and transformation of the plant gives me optimism for the future. Our aim now – also with the new BMW iX1 – is to continue to impress customers all over the world with cars made in Regensburg.”