BMW to build battery assembly in South Carolina

BMW has begun construction of a new plant for the assembly of high-voltage batteries in Woodruff in the US state of South Carolina. In future, sixth-generation batteries will be assembled there, which will be used for electric cars at the nearby Spartanburg plant.

BMW announced the assembly plant in October 2022, when the carmaker said it would invest $1.7 billion in the US, including $1 billion to prepare the Spartanburg plant for the production of battery-electric vehicles and $700 million to build the new high-voltage battery assembly plant.

The Woodruff assembly plant is expected to create more than 300 jobs, cover about 100 acres and consist of technology buildings with ancillary buildings, an energy centre, company catering facilities and a fire service. BMW does not provide precise details on the output of the plant. What is certain, however, is that the plant will purchase the cells from AESC. The cell manufacturer is currently setting up in Florence, South Carolina, and is planning an annual capacity of 30 gigawatt-hours for the plant, which is estimated to cost 810 million US dollars. Specifically, the company wants to supply the BMW plant in Spartanburg with cylindrical cells. BMW aims to produce at least six fully electric BMW X models there by 2030. AESC is one of the three battery partners for BMW’s New Class, along with Chinese manufacturers CATL and Eve Energy.

Through the partnerships with the three cell producers, BMW wants to purchase the battery cells where the production also takes place (“local for local”). In the USA, the strings are to come together in South Carolina. Whether the supply cooperation is exclusive or whether AESC will also supply other OEMs from the planned factory is not clear from the accompanying press release. BMW only specifies that the plant will produce 30 GWh and will manufacture newly developed cylindrical cells for the electric models of the “New Class” from 2025.

The BMW Group has set a target of increasing the share of fully electric vehicles in global sales to at least 50 per cent by 2030. “Today’s groundbreaking is the start of a new era at Plant Spartanburg as we prepare to produce fully electric BMW X models for the world. The road to the future begins here in Woodruff as we build on our legacy of producing high-quality vehicles right here in the U.S. Plant Woodruff will be state-of-the-art in terms of sustainability, flexibility, and digitalization,” emphasised Robert Engelhorn, President and CEO of BMW Manufacturing Co, LLC, in Spartanburg.


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