The BMW Group continues to expand its electro-mobility activities. In conjunction with its partner, Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd., the BMW Group opened a new “High-Voltage Battery Centre” in Shenyang, China today. The battery factory will supply 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.
Alongside the electric motor, the high-voltage battery is a central element of partially and fully-electrified vehicles. In-house production gives the BMW Group a crucial competitive advantage by securing know-how in new technologies, gaining key systems expertise and leveraging cost benefits. The company already produces electrified vehicles at ten locations worldwide. The high-voltage batteries needed for these models come from the BMW Group plants in Dingolfing, Spartanburg and now also Shenyang.
Production of high-voltage batteries is divided into two production stages. In a highly-automated process, supplied lithium-ion cells, which are about the size of a paperback book, are checked and then combined into a larger unit, the so-called battery module.
The battery modules are then mounted together with the connections, control units and cooling units in aluminum housing. The size and shape of the aluminum housing, as well as the number of battery modules used, depends on the vehicle variant. In this way, a perfectly adapted “battery pack” or high-voltage battery is created.
This combination of standardized battery modules and housings flexibly adapted to the vehicle has several advantages: It ensures uniform properties and quality standards in the production of high-voltage batteries. The modular design of the high-voltage batteries also forms the basis for a wide variety of electric drive variants. Last but not least, this modular concept is a requirement for responding quickly to customer demand and leveraging cost benefits.
Between January and the end of September, the BMW Group delivered a total of 68.687 BMW i, BMW iPerformance and electrified MINI vehicles to customers worldwide. With nine electrified cars currently available, the BMW Group is one of the leading suppliers worldwide. The company plans to sell 100,000 electrified vehicles worldwide by the end of the year.
Going forward, this facility will also build the plug-in hybrid variant of the BMW 5 Series and the new BMW X3. The engine plant, which opened in 2016, produces the latest generation of the BMW TwinPower Turbo three and four-cylinder petrol engines.
The BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture was founded in 2003 and encompasses production and sales of BMW automobiles in China, as well as local development tasks. The joint venture employs more than 16,000 people, while the BBA supplier network comprises around 350 local suppliers.
In 2014, the BMW Group and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. extended the contract for their Chinese joint venture early – four years before the current contract expired – and laid the foundation for deepening the successful cooperation. The extended contract is valid for ten years (from 2018 to 2028).