A US$1.7bn investment has been announced by the BMW Group that will see the OEM improving its US operations to enable the production of batteries and electric vehicles within the country.
The investment will include US$1bn being used to prepare for the production of electric vehicles at the OEM’s Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina. BMW will then use the remaining US$700m to construct a 92,900m2 high-voltage battery assembly facility in Woodruff, South Carolina. The BMW Group aims to build six fully electric models in the USA by 2030.
BMW wants to purchase battery cells for its EVs where production takes place and will do so through a partnership with Envision AESC. The company is set to build a battery cell factory in South Carolina that will supply Plant Spartanburg.
Under the partnership, Envision will manufacture newly developed cylindrical lithium-ion battery cells, designed specifically for BMW’s sixth generation of BMW eDrive technology. These will then be used in the OEM’s next-generation EVs. The expected annual capacity of the new battery cell factory will be up to 30GWh. The latest format of battery is estimated to increase energy density by over 20% and improve charging speeds by up to 30%. Furthermore, range is also expected to increase by up to 30%. The duo will also reduce CO2 emissions from cell production by up to 60% by using secondary lithium, cobalt and nickel material and renewable sources of energy for manufacturing.
BMW’s Plant Spartanburg site currently produces lithium-ion battery modules for two of the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles being built at the plant – the BMW X3 xDrive30e and the BMW X5 xDrive45e. Nearly 70,000 electrified BMWs were produced at the site during 2021.
Established 30 years ago, Plant Spartanburg represents an investment of approximately US$12bn, employs more than 11,000 people and has the capacity to build up to 450,000 vehicles each year. The facility currently produces 11 BMW models including four BMW M models and two plug-in hybrid electric models.
“For decades, Plant Spartanburg has been a cornerstone of the global success of the BMW Group. It’s home of the BMW X models that are so popular all over the world,” said Oliver Zipse, chairman of BMW Group’s board of management. “Going forward, it will also be a major driver for our electrification strategy, and we will produce at least six fully electric BMW X models here by 2030. That means the Home of the X is also becoming the Home of the Battery Electric Vehicle.
“In addition, we can showcase BMW Group’s ‘local for local’ principle: Our newly developed sixth-generation battery cells, which were specifically designed for the next generation electric vehicles, will be sourced here in South Carolina – where X goes electric.”