It’s an important moment in the history of the BMW Group as the automotive conglomerate has commenced work on the new factory located in Debrecen. As promised, the foundation stone was laid today at the Hungarian plant, which will be the company’s first carbon-neutral assembly facility. It’s going to require an investment of more than €1 billion to complete the project by the middle of the decade.
Electric vehicles based on the Neue Klasse platform will begin to roll off the assembly line in 2025. BMW has already announced the first EV will compete in the 3 Series segment, meaning it will likely be a midsize luxury sedan or SUV. Both body styles have already received the zero-emissions treatment, but the i3 Sedan is only made and sold in China while the iX3 is offered in select countries and the US is not among them.
The Debrecen site will represent a fully fledged car plant, complete with a press shop, body shop, paint shop, and the assembly facility itself. It’s going to be erected on a plot of more than 400 hectares situated northwest of the Hungarian city. Once it will be up and running at full capacity, the factory is going to build approximately 150,000 vehicles each year.
To keep it as green as possible, BMW will source most of the energy necessary for day-to-day activities from the adjacent photovoltaic systems. The remaining energy required to build cars will be obtained from 100% renewables obtained regionally.
On the same subject of sustainable production, the paint shop will have what no other automaker has, according to BMW. Specifically, electrically powered technologies will replace the traditional gas furnaces used to dry the paint. In addition, metal offcuts and filings from milling and pressing will be recycled and used again, while the waste heat generated by the cooling systems will heat water and indoor spaces.
Originally announced in 2018, the Debrecen factory currently employs 100 people, but the workforce will grow tenfold over the next two years. A training center is also being built at the site and will offer three-year training programs in four professions. Eight instructors will teach 70 apprentices each year to learn the necessary skills and be fit for the job.