Production of fifth-generation high-voltage batteries and battery modules for use in the BMW iX and BMW i4 is now underway at the BMW’s Competence Center for E-Drive Production in Dingolfing. At the same time, the company is also increasing production capacity for its fifth-generation electric motor, which has been built in Dingolfing for the BMW iX3 since 2020 and will also power the BMW iX and BMW i4.
We expect at least 50 percent of the vehicles we deliver to our customers worldwide to be electrified by 2030. To achieve this, we are relying on our extensive in-house drive train expertise: We are increasing capacity at existing drive train production locations—like here in Dingolfing—and developing capabilities at others—like recently in Regensburg and Leipzig.—Dr Michael Nikolaides, Senior Vice President, Production Engines and E-Drives, BMW Group
The BMW Group is investing more than €500 million in expanding production capacity for e-drives at its Dingolfing location alone between 2020 and 2022. From 2022, it will produce e-drives for more than half a million electrified vehicles. The BMW Group will invest a total of around €790 million in expanding capacity for electric powertrain components at its Dingolfing, Leipzig, Regensburg and Steyr locations between 2020 and 2022.
Standard production of the BMW iX will soon get underway at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing, followed by production of the BMW i4 at Plant Munich in the autumn. The highly integrated e-drives and high-voltage batteries for these vehicles will all be manufactured at the Competence Centre for E-Drive Production in Dingolfing. The BMW Group already began producing battery components at Plants Regensburg and Leipzig in April and May 2021. In line with growing demand for e-drives, BMW Group Plants Landshut and Steyr are also stepping up production of e-drive housings.
The output and energy content of drive units and high-voltage batteries with fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology can be flexibly scaled. This means they can be optimally adjusted to suit different model variants.
Each vehicle uses up to two highly integrated e-drives, which combine the electric motor, power electronics and transmission in a single housing. Based on the design principle of a current-excited rotor, the fifth-generation e-drive does not require any materials classified as rare-earth metals.
The technically standardized production process for battery modules has been further developed in such a way that different module variants can be produced on the same production line—in line with the growing range of electrified vehicle models and performance levels.
The production systems are highly flexible and scalable. Battery modules are produced from supplied prismatic battery cells at the respective BMW Group production location. A modular system developed in-house allows model-specific high-voltage batteries to be manufactured from these modules in a flexible arrangement.
The BMW Group conducts basic research in the fields of cell chemistry and cell design at its own Battery Cell Competence Center. The BMW Group also produces battery cell prototypes itself. These battery cell prototypes are used in tests to validate the development maturity of battery cells and to demonstrate the effectiveness of the production processes.
In addition, the prototype production of the battery cells serves the identification of process potentials as well as the optimization of the production processes. In this way, the BMW Group gains a thorough understanding of the entire battery cell value chain and the decisive competitive advantages its chemical and technical properties offer. This enables battery cells to be manufactured to precise specifications that are geared towards each vehicle’s individual requirements.
Plant Dingolfing has been manufacturing standard high-voltage batteries and battery modules since 2013, when the BMW Group’s first all-electric vehicle, the BMW i3, went into production. The first production lines for electric motors and high-voltage batteries for plug-in hybrids went on-stream there in 2014. The Competence Center for E-Drive Production has been steadily growing ever since.
The plant has also been producing high-voltage batteries for the fully electric MINI Cooper SE since 2019 and, since 2020, also the highly integrated fifth-generation e-drive used for the first time in the BMW iX3. Production of the even more powerful high-voltage batteries for the BMW iX and BMW i4 is now getting underway. E-drives for future models can also be produced on the flexible production lines.
The Dingolfing location is a prime example of the successful transformation of the BMW Group plants towards e-mobility and digitalization. E-drive production, including electric motors and high-voltage batteries, is located in an existing, roughly 50-year-old building at the site, rather than using new space. The infrastructure was adapted to the new requirements and expanded accordingly. A modern staff restaurant seats 300 and there is also a new parking deck with space for 800 vehicles. The structural measures are rounded out by a 25,000 sq. m. logistics hall, new office spaces and social rooms close to the production area, as well as an additional plant gate in the south for improved logistics flows.