As part of its plan to increase its production of electric vehicles, the BMW Group will invest a total of $1.7 billion to expand its manufacturing footprint in South Carolina. The company will invest $1 billion to prepare for the production of electric vehicles at Plant Spartanburg, and another $700 million to build a new high-voltage battery assembly facility in nearby Woodruff, SC.
“For decades, Plant Spartanburg has been a cornerstone of the global success of the BMW Group. The home of the BMW X models that are so popular all over the world. Going forward, it will also be a major driver for our electrification strategy, and we will produce at least six fully electric BMW X models here by 2030,” said Oliver Zipse, BMW Group Chairman of the Board of Management. “That means: The ‘Home of the X’ is also becoming the ‘Home of the Battery Electric Vehicle.’
“In addition, we can showcase BMW Group’s ‘local for local’ principle: Our newly developed sixth generation battery cells, which were specifically designed for the next generation NEUE KLASSE electric vehicles, will be sourced here in South Carolina – where X goes electric,” Zipse added.
As part of its commitment to strengthening its regional supply chain, BMW aims to purchase battery cells for its electric vehicles where production takes place. So, BMW has partnered with Envision AESC, which will build a new battery cell factory in Woodruff to supply Plant Spartanburg. Envision will produce BMW’s newly developed sixth generation round lithium-ion battery cells, specifically designed for the next generation Neue Klasse electric vehicles. The new battery format will increase energy density by more than 20%, improve charging speed by up to 30% and enhance range by up to 30%. At the same time, the use of secondary material for raw materials – including lithium, cobalt and nickel, as well as renewable energy for production – CO2 emissions from cell production will be reduced by up to 60%. The new high-voltage battery assembly facility will create 300 new jobs, encompass over one million square feet and produce next generation batteries for fully electric vehicles.
Plant Spartanburg currently produces lithium-ion battery modules for the two plug-in hybrid electric vehicles built at the plant, the BMW X3 xDrive30e and BMW X5 xDrive45e. In 2021, nearly 70,000 electrified BMWs were built on-site. The plant also produces the BMW X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7 Sports Activity Vehicles and four BMW M models. Production of the all-new hybrid-electric BMW XM will begin later this year.
The South Carolina Coordinating Council for Economic Development has awarded a $65 million Closing Fund grant to Spartanburg County to assist with costs related to the project.
“BMW’s sustained and impactful presence in South Carolina demonstrates the power of partnership and shared commitment to our state’s automotive industry success,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “With today’s announcement of a $1 billion expansion to Plant Spartanburg for manufacturing electric vehicles as well as $700 million for a new plant in Woodruff to assemble battery units, the road to the future is here. And I applaud BMW on helping lead the way.”
Plant Spartanburg currently represents an investment of nearly $12 billion, has more than 11,000 employees and has an annual capacity of up to 450,000 vehicles. To date, more than six million BMW vehicles have been built in South Carolina — for the U.S. and global markets. Based on this strength, BMW has been the largest automotive exporter from the U.S. by value for the past eight years.
The plant is supported by more than 300 suppliers in the U.S., including over 40 direct tier 1 suppliers in South Carolina alone.
“This is a very important step for Plant Spartanburg as we continue our legacy of producing high-quality vehicles, and build on the success of the last 30 years,” said BMW Manufacturing President and CEO Dr. Robert Engelhorn. “With this latest investment, we futureproof our operations and prepare the plant for electrification and new technologies, ensuring both the long-term success of our company and our position as an attractive and viable employer in the state of South Carolina.”