BMW opens R&D lab in Shanghai

BMW has opened a new research and development centre in Shanghai. The focus at the new BMW Group Tech Office Asia-Pacific in Shanghai is on the integration of hardware and software and technologies, including for the electric cars based on the New Class.

China already had the BMW Group’s largest R&D presence outside Germany with locations in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang and Nanjing, according to the Munich-based company’s statement. With the new centre, the company has now “built up comprehensive R&D expertise and software development capacities for full-stack ICV development in China” and is thus “in the perfect position to further implement its China strategy”, BMW added. ICV stands for “Intelligent and Connected Vehicle”.

All of the Group’s development work in China was bundled under the leadership of Robert Kahlenberg in April. The BMW Group now has more than 3,200 R&D employees in China. The move to bring the various locations under one roof is designed to strengthen synergies between different R&D functions in China, but also to improve the integration of the Chinese R&D network into the global BMW organisation.

The Chinese research and development team was instrumental in the design, development, testing and validation of the all-electric BMW i5 for local production, which is to be unveiled later this year – differences to the already unveiled European model with production in Dingolfing are not yet known.

The Chinese team will also be involved in the development of the ‘New Class’ EVs, which will also be produced in China, as reported. BMW does not give details here, it only talks about “many key aspects of the development of the New Class models”. The main focus is likely to be on human-machine interaction and the digital user experience. The Munich-based company emphasises that China is currently the only market outside Germany that has “Skylab, the human-machine interaction design team, and a usability lab with all core design functions”. The Nanjing site is also set to expand its software team to 500 people this year.

“Our new research and development centre and the modernisation of research and development at BMW China will enable us to achieve a real boost in competence. Within the last three years, we have tripled our forces in China,” says BMW Board Member for Development Frank Weber. “Today, more than 3,200 designers and engineers, NEV and software specialists are creating leading innovations in close collaboration with Chinese technology companies, start-ups, local partners and academia. China is the place to be. In the future, there will be much more China in our global R&D organisation.” (in German)


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