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BMW Investing Big In New Hungarian Battery Plant

Want to know whether a company is serious about building EVs? Don’t take its plans at face value. Don’t take even its final assembly plants for granted, especially if it’s on a flexible architecture. The truth is, if you really want to know whether a company is going to build EVs, you have to see whether it is building batteries. The company might not build its own battery cells, and a supplier might even be doing its modules, but at some point it will need to assemble a pack. If they’re undergoing a serious EV effort, they’ll need to build a LOT of packs.

With this in mind, if you’re a BMW fan and also an EV fan, there’s some great news in a recent press release. BMW is building another battery assembly plant!

The BMW Group is constructing a high-voltage battery assembly for the vehicles of the NEUE KLASSE at its site in Hungary. The battery assembly will be placed on the land of the Debrecen vehicle plant, which commenced construction approximately six months ago. By creating more than 500 additional jobs and investing over two billion euros in the construction and launch of the entire plant by 2025, the company expects great success.

“In Debrecen, we are building the most advanced plant in the world.” said Milan Nedeljković, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “With our iFACTORY, we are setting new industry standards for vehicle production. Our investments underline our systematic approach to implementing e-mobility.”

In autumn 2023, the plant will launch a dual education program at its in-house Training Centre in collaboration with local partners in education.

Markus Fallböhmer, Senior Vice President of Battery Production at the BMW Group, explains why short distances for logistics were considered when locating the assembly of high-voltage batteries: “The close link between battery assembly and vehicle production is part of our strategy.”

The new production facility, which will extend over an area of about 140,000 m², recently began construction. The next-generation round battery cells will be assembled into a battery housing — a metal frame at the Debrecen Plant, which is later integrated into the underbody of the car. All batteries for the vehicles from this plant will be assembled on site. Production for these sixth generation high-voltage batteries officially begins in 2025, when vehicle production starts.

The battery is the key to an electric vehicle’s success. With the next generation of batteries, Neue Klasse will improve by up to 30% in range and charging speed.

The BMW Group is dedicated to reducing the carbon footprint and production of resources, which starts with the supply chain. Cell manufacturers will use recycled materials like cobalt, lithium, and nickel in battery cells instead of newly mined raw materials. With this change as well as a commitment to using green power from renewable energies for battery cell production, the company claims it can reduce the carbon footprint by up to 60%.

The new announcements were also welcomed by the Hungarian government. “The BMW Group plant in Debrecen is a symbol of the successful Hungarian economic policy of the past twelve years,” said Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary. “The plant combines environmental protection and competitiveness, and that is much more than we have originally planned.”

Featured image provided by BMW.

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Written By

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.


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