BMW announced on Wednesday a major investment in its US plant to prepare it for electric vehicle production.
The automaker said it will spend $ 1 billion at its Spartanburg, South Carolina plant to prepare the site for electric vehicles, plus an additional $ 700 million to build a new battery plant in nearby Woodruff, Carolina. of the South, and hire 300 workers.
The Spartanburg plant is the largest BMW plant in the world, with a total of 433,810 vehicles rolling off the line in 2021. It produces the X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7 lines, including hybrid versions of some of these vehicles, and will soon add production of the new XM 2023 high-performance hybrid SUV.
BMW said at least six electric vehicles will be built at the Spartanburg plant by 2030. Most of these will likely be electric versions of existing SUV lines.
BMW Assembly Plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
The battery plant in Woodruff will be operated in partnership with Envision AESC. The battery supplier was founded as AESC in 2007 by Nissan and other Japanese companies NEC and Tokin, although Nissan sold its controlling stake to the Chinese group Envision in 2018.
The plant will have a capacity of up to 30 GWh and will initially produce BMW’s new sixth-generation battery, which features cylindrical cells. The design offers packaging advantages over current prismatic cell designs and, as a result, improved density and performance. BMW cites an increase in energy density of more than 20%, a better charging speed of up to 30% and a longer range of up to 30%.
BMW with its partners is also planning four additional battery plants in Europe and China. Each of the plants will have a capacity of over 20 gwh.
BMW’s announcement is the latest in several multi-billion dollar investments in US electric vehicle manufacturing following the passage of legislation encouraging domestic production, most notably the Inflation Reduction Act and the US-Mexico-Canada agreement. With these policies, automakers are able to avoid tariffs or benefit from financial incentives by producing nationwide.