Group says it can double production volumes in 12 months if EV demand takes off
The BMW Group has released more details of plans to expand its electro-mobility offering, but change will not come overnight.
At a May 2 meeting with Bavarian State Minister of Economic Affairs Ilse Aigner, BMW Group board member and responsible for Production, Oliver Zipse, said that the company would begin producing the BMW iNEXT EV at its Dingolfing plant in 2021. “In the area of electro-mobility, in particular, our aim is to ensure end-to-end systems expertise within the company,” Zipse added.
The company already produces nine models of various degrees of electrification (eight are PHEVs) at nine locations around the globe. Production will grow to include the first electric MINI in 2019, a BMW X3 EV in 2020 and the BMW iNEXT. Dingolfing already produces components such as high-voltage batteries and motors, together with BMW’s Landshut plant, although Leipzig is currently its only full-EV assembly plant.
Over 100 million euros has been invested in electro-mobility at Dingolfing, and several hundred employees are tasked in areas related to e-mobility. Further jobs will be created over the medium term as production ramps up, the company said.
In some ways, this cements a change in strategy for BMW, and suggests that more plants will be tasked with areas of full or partial electrification. Zipse intimated that more flexible factories and production lines would be the model of the future, adding that: “Going forward, the BMW production system will create structures that enable our production facilities to build models with a combustion engine, plug-in hybrid or fully electric drive train at the same time. This will give us unique flexibility and put us in an optimal position on the cost side.”
By 2025, the BMW Group expects electrified vehicles to account for between 15-25% of sales. It says that this flexibility will allow production to respond quickly to changing market demands and will allow it to integrate different drive forms directly into ongoing production as required.
The Group’s head of production engines and electrified powertrain, Ilka Horstmeier, added: “Flexibility is a key success factor in production of electric drive components. Our adaptive production system is responsive and innovative: If needed, we can double our manufacturing volumes in the space of 12 months and respond quickly to growing customer demand. Thanks to our standardised modular system for so-called eDrive components, we are also capable of producing electric engines and high-voltage batteries with different sizes, performance and structural shape. We can increase the percentage of electric drive trains in line with demand in individual sales regions.”
Certainly the company is keen to show that if the demand for EVs is there, it can comfortably supply the market. The big question now is how big that demand might be.