The BMW Group continues to adapt its production structures to growing demand for fully and partially electrified vehicles. In China, the BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) joint venture has expanded its battery factory at the Tiexi location, the “High-Voltage Battery Center”, with a further battery center that will immediately begin producing the new and more powerful batteries of the fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology used in the fully-electric BMW iX3.
China is of high importance to the BMW Group, both as a market and as a location for production and innovation. Our investments underline our strong commitment to China and Shenyang over the long term. And the investments are ongoing: The Tiexi and Dadong plant extension projects are well on track. And we are preparing for future growth: With this new Battery Center, we more than double the capacity of our local battery production in China.—Milan Nedeljković, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Production
China is the BMW Group’s largest single market and sets the tempo for e-mobility around the world. With five electrified models currently available, the BMW Group offers Chinese customers the widest range of options in the premium segment. There are already a total of 75,000 electrified BMW models on China’s roads today.
Production of the new fully-electric BMW iX3 will get underway at BBA Plant Dadong by the end of September. The high-voltage batteries it requires will be supplied by the nearby new battery center. The BMW X3 is the first model available with highly efficient gasoline and diesel engines incorporating 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, with a plug-in hybrid drive train, or as a pure electric model.
The high-voltage battery for the fifth-generation BMW eDrive was developed from the ground up with pioneering new battery cell technology. The high-voltage batteries’ output and energy content can be flexibly scaled for use in different vehicle concepts and segments.
The newest battery generation has also been able to reduce the amount of the cobalt used as a raw material by another two-thirds. Compared to the battery cells widely used by the BMW Group in its fully-electric vehicles in the past, the battery’s gravimetric energy density has been improved by about 20% at cell level in the BMW iX3. The BMW Group is sourcing its own cobalt and lithium for the first time and supplying these raw materials to its battery cell producers.
The BMW Group has also reached a contractual agreement with its cell manufacturers that they will only use green power to produce fifth-generation battery cells.
The expanded High-Voltage Battery Center is the first location in the BMW Group production network to manufacture fifth-generation high-voltage batteries. At the same time, the Competence Center for E-Drive Production in Dingolfing is also gearing up to produce the new fifth-generation high-voltage batteries. These will be installed in additional products, such as the BMW iNEXT and the BMW i4, starting next year.
By producing high-voltage batteries where they are needed, the company is able to minimize transportation and thus contribute to sustainability.
The BBA Brilliance Automotive joint venture was founded in 2003. In 2019, the BBA automotive plants in Tiexi and Dadong produced more than 530,000 vehicles for the Chinese market—an increase of more than 9% year-on-year. Maximum capacity at the two plants will reach 650,000 units per year over the coming years.