In the accelerating race to grab shares of the electric vehicle market, BMW Group is betting big on batteries, as illustrated by a major expansion of the group’s production plant near Leipzig, Germany.
The Bavaria-based auto conglomerate announced in August that it broke ground on developing nearly 30 acres next to its existing Leipzig plant. This plant produces “fifth-generation high-voltage batteries,” according to a news release.
The two-phase plant expansion will ultimately include a new office building and manufacturing facilities, representing an investment of up to 100 million euros (close to $106 million, as of early October).
Sustainable features will be incorporated throughout the buildings — including rooftop solar panels and a heat pump that allow the facilities to operate without burning fuels that release planet-warming pollution, according to BMW Group. Among other eco-friendly touches, the new complex will feature a green roof, strategically placed shade trees, and even insect-friendly outdoor lighting.
Scheduled for completion in mid-2024, the expansion will provide workspaces for about 500 employees. As BMW Group shifts toward more EV production, it aims to maintain its workforce in Leipzig by protecting manufacturing jobs and adding new ones.
In its news release, BMW Group said it aims for at least one of every three cars sold to be fully electric by 2026. It also predicts increasing demand for high-performance batteries.
BMW Group’s investments in EVs and batteries are also good for consumers, who benefit from competition and innovation in the EV space. The conglomerate is one of several global players in the fields of EV and battery development that also include Tesla and a growing number of rivals.
For BMW Group, the expanded plant will continue to play a key role in its EV-focused shift.
CleanTechnica’s Jennifer Sensiba wrote, “Keeping workers in Leipzig on the clock is important, and coming up with parts for them to make without it being busy work that drags the industry down is a key to keeping support for the EV transition up.”
“Leipzig continues to power ahead,” Petra Peterhänsel, the plant’s director, said in the news release. “Making the BMW i3, we were the BMW Group’s pioneer in electromobility. Now, with the development of e-component production and the upcoming launch of the Mini Countryman, the future is already taking shape.”
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