BMW has recently opened a Battery Competence Center near Munich with a simple goal in mind: to develop next-level batteries that will have higher energy density. Though, that’s not enough when it comes to being a sustainable company. Therefore, the Germans are now putting in place a new ‘pilot plant’ that would research ways of making the battery production process more sustainable and efficient.

The goal is to enhance battery cells’ performance capabilities and demonstrate large-scale manufacturing. To do so, the BMW Group will develop innovative production processes and systems, which will then be installed at the 14,000 m² pilot plant. Using production processes and systems also employed in standard production, the company will be able to demonstrate the industrial feasibility of future battery cell generations. The main focus will be on optimizing production efficiency, costs and quality.

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Building on know-how from the Battery Cell Competence Center and, later, also from the pilot plant, the BMW Group will bring optimal battery cell technology to series maturity within the shortest implementation time possible and enable suppliers for battery cell production to its own specifications. A quarter of BMW Group vehicles sold in Europe should have an electric drive train by 2021; a third in 2025 and half in 2030.

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“The new pilot plant will strengthen our expertise in production of battery cells. We will be capable of testing new systems technology and innovative production processes. Our goal is to optimize near-standard production of battery cells from the perspective of quality, performance and costs. The new pilot plant will enable us to close the final gap in the value chain from battery cell development, to production of modules and powertrain components, all the way to installation of fully assembled high-voltage batteries at our vehicle plants. This makes us the first car manufacturer to cover the entire process chain for electric driving,” said Milan Nedeljković, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Production.

The pilot plant will be built in Parsdorf, near Munich, and is scheduled to go into service in late 2022. The total project volume is almost 110 million euros and about 50 employees will work at the plant.