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BMW Brilliance Automotive opens battery factory in Shenyang; 3rd battery factory in BMW Group production network

In conjunction with its partner, Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd., the BMW Group opened a new “High-Voltage Battery Center” in Shenyang, China. The battery factory will supply the nearby Dadong plant, which is operated by the BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) joint venture and will produce the BMW 5 Series Plug-in Hybrid for the local market.

The new plant is the first battery factory of any premium automotive manufacturer in China and the third in the Group’s production network, after Germany and the US, said Oliver Zipse, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Production.

By 2025, we expect our electrified BMW and MINI models to account for between 15 and 25 percent of global sales. This adds up to several hundred thousand vehicles per year. It therefore makes sense for us to integrate electro-mobility into the existing production system.

—Oliver Zipse

Alongside the electric motor, the high-voltage battery is a central element of partially and fully-electrified vehicles. The Group believes that in-house production gives it a decisive competitive advantage by securing know-how in new technologies, gaining key systems expertise and leveraging cost benefits.

The company already produces electrified vehicles at ten locations worldwide. The high-voltage batteries needed for these models come from the BMW Group plants in Dingolfing, Spartanburg and now also Shenyang. The Dingolfing plant will play a leading role within the network as the centre of competence for electric drive systems.

Production of high-voltage battery packs is divided into two production stages. First, in a highly-automated process, supplied lithium-ion cells, which are about the size of a paperback book, are checked and then combined into a larger unit, the battery module.

Battery cells packaged in a module. Click to enlarge.

The battery modules are then mounted together with the connections, control units and cooling units in an aluminium housing. The size and shape of the aluminium housing, as well as the number of battery modules used, depends on the vehicle variant.

The new BMW 530 Le iPerformance high voltage battery pack. Click to enlarge.

This combination of standardized battery modules and housings flexibly adapted to the vehicle has several advantages, BMW says: It ensures uniform properties and quality standards in the production of high-voltage batteries. The modular design of the high-voltage batteries also forms the basis for a wide variety of electric drive variants. This modular concept is a requirement for responding quickly to customer demand and leveraging cost benefits.

Between January 2017 and the end of September, the BMW Group delivered a total of 68,687 BMW i, BMW iPerformance and electrified MINI vehicles to customers worldwide—an increase of 64.2%. With nine electrified cars currently available, the BMW Group is one of the leading suppliers worldwide. The company plans to sell 100,000 electrified vehicles worldwide by the end of the year.

Shenyang production facility. The Shenyang location, with its Dadong and Tiexi automotive plants and engine plant with light-metal foundry, plays an important role in the BMW Group’s global production network. It contributes to the strategy of globally balanced growth, with production capacity in the respective regional markets.

The BBA production location in Shenyang builds vehicles exclusively for the Chinese market. The Dadong plant in the northeast of the city opened in 2003 and currently produces the BMW 5 Series Long-Wheelbase Version. Going forward, this facility will also build the plug-in hybrid variant of the BMW 5 Series and the new BMW X3.

The Tiexi plant in the west of Shenyang, which went on-stream in 2012, builds the BMW X1 Long-Wheelbase Version (including a plug-in hybrid variant), the BMW 1 Series Sedan, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, the BMW 3 Series Long-Wheelbase Version and the BMW 3 Series Sedan. The engine plant, which opened in 2016, produces the latest generation of the BMW TwinPower Turbo three and four-cylinder gasoline engines.

The BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture was founded in 2003 and encompasses production and sales of BMW automobiles in China, as well as local development tasks. The joint venture employs more than 16,000 people, while the BBA supplier network comprises around 350 local suppliers.

In 2014, the BMW Group and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. extended the contract for their Chinese joint venture early—four years before the current contract expired—and laid the foundation for deepening the successful cooperation. The extended contract is valid for ten years (from 2018 to 2028).



With this JV, BMW will have access to low cost labour and engineering to mass produce improved batteries and electrified vehicles for the local Chinese market and exports.

BMW is already (one of/or) the major vehicle manufacturer with electrified vehicles highest growth rate in 2017. Unless TESLA moves to Asia (China?), it will become/remain a minor EV producer.

India is overdue for EV batteries and electrified vehicles mass production. Who will be first major to exploit this other major market? Large India cities need electrified vehicles badly?

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