The BMW Group in collaboration with its partner, Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd., has opened a new “High-Voltage Battery Centre” in Shenyang, China. The factory will cater to the needs of the nearby Dadong plant, which is operated by the BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) joint venture and will produce the BMW 5 Series Plug-in Hybrid for the local market.
Commenting on the new factory, Oliver Zipse, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Production said that the innovative High-Voltage Battery Centre in Shenyang is a major step forward in the BMW Group’s electro-mobility strategy. It is the first such battery factory set up by any premium automotive manufacturer in China and is BMW’s third such factory in its production network, after plants in Germany and the US.
The BMW Group is integrating its battery factories into its current international manufacturing footprint and Zipse added that by 2025, BMW expects its electrified BMW and MINI models to account for between 15 and 25 per cent of global sales. Through in-house production of the high-voltage battery, the BMW Group will enjoy a decisive competitive advantage and will be able to get advance knowledge of new technologies, gain key systems expertise and leverage cost benefits. The company already makes electrified vehicles at ten locations spread across the world. The high-voltage batteries for these models are sourced from the BMW Group plants in Dingolfing, Spartanburg and will now also be obtained from Shenyang.
High-voltage batteries are made in two stages. First, the supplied lithium-ion cells, which are about the size of a paperback book, are checked and then combined into a larger battery module using a highly automated process. The battery modules are then mounted together with the connections, control units and cooling units in an aluminium housing. The size and shape of the aluminium housing and the number of battery modules will vary depending on the vehicle variant. The modular design of the high-voltage batteries facilitates the development of a wide variety of electric drive variants. This modular concept is also a requirement for adapting fast to customer demand and leveraging cost benefits.
The BMW Group currently has nine electrified cars and is one of the leading suppliers worldwide. The company plans to sell 100,000 electrified vehicles worldwide by the end of the year.
The Shenyang production facility
The Shenyang location, with easy access to the BMW Group’s Dadong and Tiexi automotive plants and engine plant with light-metal foundry will play a key role in the BMW Group’s global production network. It is part of the company’s strategy of globally balanced growth, and will cater to the demand for such batteries in the regional market.
The BMW Brilliance Automotive Joint Venture
The BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture was established in 2003 and covers production and sales of BMW automobiles in China, as well as local development tasks. In 2014, the BMW Group and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. extended the contract for their Chinese joint venture four years before the current contract expired and the extended contract is valid for ten years (from 2018 to 2028).
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