BMW is currently in the planning and designing phase of building its Debrecen, Hungary factory, which will be the factory that builds Neue Klasse cars starting in 2025. However, this current phase isn’t being carried out in a normal fashion. Rather than just studying blueprints, BMW partnered with Nvidia to build a completely virtual version of the Debrecen factory, from soup to nuts, with every machine and facility added in explicit detail.

Why go through the trouble to digitally create the factory before building it in reality? It allows BMW to optimize manufacturing efficiency before laying a single real brick. BMW can see what works and what doesn’t work on a real scale, long before construction begins, which can be an invaluable tool if used properly. It can even save money.

“Virtualisation and artificial intelligence are accelerating and refining our planning. With the various planning systems consolidated within a digital twin, our teams around the world can now work together in real-time and make decisions faster and on a more solid foundation,” Milan Nedeljković explained. “This makes us much quicker and more efficient and saves on costs as well.”

BMW used Nvidia’s Omniverse Enterprise, a 3D building platform, to create a 3D factory in the metaverse (I just vomited typing that word).

“Digitalization is moving fastest in the automotive industry and BMW has been a leader in advancing this vision,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. “We are partnering closely with BMW, using NVIDIA Omniverse to help streamline their manufacturing processes, enhance collaboration and further efficiency. Our collaboration will continue to push the frontiers of virtual integration for the next generation of smart, connected factories around the world.”

BMW has long been among the best auto manufacturers in the world at actually manufacturing cars. Its ability to build cars in top-notch facilities with incredible efficiency and little to no errors is hugely impressive in the industry. So seeing BMW go all out for the Neue Klasse factory shows how important such cars are for the brand.

The 1.4 km-squared Debrecen factory should begin building cars in 2025, which will likely go on sale as 2026 models. So production there is still a long way off. Cars like the upcoming BMW iX3 and i3 will be among the first Neue Klasse cars that’s build in 2026, as they’re the most popular BMW models. However, it’s fascinating to see BMW partnering with Nvidia to build a digital version first.