BMW Brilliance Automotive doubles battery production in China

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 14 Sep 2020


German luxury vehicle manufacturer the BMW Group says it continues to expand its electromobility range and is adapting its production structures to growing demand for fully and partially electrified vehicles. As part of its efforts, in China, the BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) joint venture has expanded its battery factory at the Tiexi location, the so-called ‘high-voltage battery centre’, with a further battery centre 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.

The new High-Voltage Battery Centre was officially opened today at a formal ceremony attended by high-level representatives of both the Chinese government and BBA. Representatives of the BMW Group attended the event virtually.

Milan Nedeljkovic, member of the Board of Management of BMW, responsible for Production, said at the opening ceremony: “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.”

BBA President Dr. Johann Wieland added: “The expansion of our High-Voltage Battery Centre is concrete proof of our commitment to continue investing in Shenyang, Liaoning and north-eastern China. It also shows our determination to take a leading role in sustainable mobility, as we launch our pure electric BMW iX3.”

The OEM says China is its largest single market and sets the tempo for e-mobility around the world. At present, BMW sells five electrified models in the Chinese market and has already sold a total of 75,000 electrified BMW models in the country.

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 centre. The BMW X3 is the first model available with highly efficient petrol and diesel engines incorporating 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, with a plug-in hybrid drive train, or as a pure electric model.

For the new generation of batteries the company says it has 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 percent 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.

As part of its sustainability practice, 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 Centre is the first location in the BMW Group production network to manufacture fifth-generation high-voltage batteries. At the same time, the Competence Centre 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 minimise transportation and thus contributes to sustainability.