BMW expands US battery production

BMW expands US battery production

Plug-in hybrid crossovers to get large battery packs built in South Carolina.

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Spartanburg, South Carolina – BMW Group Plant Spartanburg has more than doubled its capacity for battery assembly prior to the debuts of the plug-in hybrid electric variants of two of its most popular models.

Fourth-generation batteries will be assembled on-site for the BMW X5 and BMW X3 plug-in hybrid electric variants. The 2020 BMW X5 xDrive45e Sports Activity Vehicle will begin production in South Carolina, on August 1. Production of the BMW X3 xDrive30e will begin in December.

“We have invested approximately $10 million to install a new battery assembly line and expanded the area to 86,000ft2. This means we could double the number of batteries produced if needed to meet market demand,” explains Michael Nikolaides, senior vice president engines and electrified drivetrains, BMW Group.

In addition, BMW Group has invested a further $10 million to support the production of the new PHEV models.

More than 120 employees were specially trained to work the new line, having completed an extensive program in battery production, robotics and electrical inline quality inspection along with end-of-line testing. An additional 225 vehicle assembly workers received training in the production of electrified vehicles.

“We have assembled batteries on site at Plant Spartanburg since 2015, making BMW Group a pioneer of electromobility in the U.S.,” said Knudt Flor, president and CEO, BMW Manufacturing Co. “The BMW X5 and X3 are currently among the best-selling BMW models in the U.S. and we anticipate that their PHEV variants will also be well-received by BMW customers.”

From 2015 – 2018, BMW Group Plant Spartanburg produced the X5 xDrive40e, the first plug-in hybrid production car from the BMW core brand. The plant’s battery assembly team assembled more than 45,000 batteries during this four-year period.

Group Plant Spartanburg is the global center of competence for BMW sports activity vehicles and coupes and produces BMW X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7 models and their variants. Since starting production 25 years ago, the plant has built more than 4.6 million vehicles for the U.S. market and the world. In 2018, data from the U.S. Department of Commerce confirmed that manufacturing was the largest automotive exporter by value for the fifth consecutive year.