BMW Group announced it is investing $1.7 billion in the US. The money will go toward building a new battery cell factory and readying the automaker’s South Carolina plant to produce electric vehicles.
Some $1 billion will go to upgrading the company’s Spartanburg facility, where the company plans to produce six electric vehicles by 2030. The other $700 million will go to building the new battery plant in nearby Woodruff, South Carolina. The new factory, which Envision AESC will build, will cover 1 million square feet and create 300 new jobs.
The battery factory will produce the automaker’s new round lithium-ion battery cells. BMW promises 30 percent more range with the new batteries while reducing prices by up to 50 percent, which BMW believes is needed to expand EV adoption. The new cell technology is 20 percent denser and could improve charge times by 30 percent. Their production will also reduce CO2 emissions by up to 60 percent due to using recycled material and renewable energy sources. The new plant will have an annual capacity of up to 30 gigawatt-hours.
BMW’s Spartanburg factory already produces battery modules for the BMW X3 and X4 plug-in hybrids. Last year, BMW built nearly 70,000 electrified models at the site. BMW established the factory 30 years ago and has been producing vehicles at it for 28. It employs more than 11,000 people and can produce up to 450,000 cars annually. It currently makes 11 models, with BMW XM production starting at the plant later this year.
BMW is just the latest automaker to announce investing in the US. Last week, Honda and LE Energy Solution announced the two would build a 40-GWh battery plant in Ohio, which could cost up to $4.4 billion. In September, Toyota announced a $2.5 billion investment for its US battery production facility.
BMW has already announced that four additional battery cell factories will be built in Europe and China, each with an annual capacity of 20 GWh. As the industry shifts, we expect more automakers to announce investments designed to bolster EV production.