BMW Group: E-drive production expands in Leipzig: Second battery module line goes on stream

Today the second battery module production line of BMW Group Plant Leipzig is launched. Further expanding the production of e-components in the German state of Saxony, the new system produces modules for the all-electric BMW i4*, made in Munich. Plant Leipzig’s first such production line went into operation in May 2021 and will supply the battery modules for the BMW iX*.

“The launch of the second battery module production line in Leipzig makes a significant contribution to providing the battery components needed to make a growing number of electrified vehicles,” said Markus Fallböhmer, Head of Engine and E-Drive Production at the BMW Group. The gradual expansion of e-component production is bringing the BMW Group closer to its 2030 target, when all-electric models are expected to account for at least half of the BMW Group’s sales.

Ensuring the future viability of Plant Leipzig

The new battery module production line alone will cost approximately EUR 70 million. As the expansion of e-component production continues, new jobs are also being created, with some 250 people on the new line by the end of 2022, in addition to the current over-700s already working in e-component production. being in Leipzig.

Plant Leipzig’s second battery module production system covers an area of ​​approximately 4,250 m² and uses BMW i production spaces that are now vacant following the BMW i3’s phasing out on June 30. Each battery module passes a total of 196 production stations before it is complete and ready for further processing.

“Plant Leipzig remains electrified,” says a delighted Petra Peterhänsel, Plant Director. “Now that BMW i3 has been discontinued, we can leverage the skills and experience of our employees elsewhere and provide them with secure, long-term jobs,” she noted, adding that this would continue to ensure the plant’s future viability.

To prepare for the steady increase in electric vehicles, e-drive production in Leipzig will become even more extensive and flexible as early as next year, with the coming stages of the expansion program creating even more new jobs. Another important milestone is the production of the successor to the MINI Countryman, which will roll off the production lines from 2023. The crossover model will be available with combustion engines and an all-electric drive.

From battery cell to high voltage battery

High voltage battery production can be divided into two stages: module production and high voltage battery assembly.

The production of modules is a highly automated process in which the lithium-ion cells first undergo plasma cleaning, before being coated by a specially developed system to ensure optimal insulation. They are then combined to form larger units known as modules. The BMW Group sources its battery cells from partners who manufacture them to the company’s exact specifications.

The completed battery modules are then placed in an aluminum housing along with the connectors and the control and cooling units. The size and shape of the housing and the number of battery modules used differ depending on the vehicle variant. In this way, each high-voltage battery can be optimally adapted to the car it will power.

Global e-drive production network concentrated in Germany

To meet the increasing demand for production capacity for e-drive components, the BMW Group uses a worldwide production network. The high-voltage batteries and battery components for the full range of electrified BMW and MINI vehicles are made at the company’s own battery facilities, in Dingolfing, Leipzig and Regensburg in Germany, as well as in Spartanburg (USA) and Shenyang (China). There is also a local production of high voltage batteries in Thailand, for the factory in Rayong. In Munich, the BMW Group operates an e-drive pilot plant and a Battery Cell Competence Center where the value creation processes of battery cells are fully analyzed and technologies for production processes are refined. The BMW Group will soon open a Cell Manufacturing Competence Center just outside Munich.

The new facility, located in Parsdorf, just east of the city, will be a pilot plant for the production of battery cells. It will model the serial production of lithium-ion battery cells and validate the feasibility of their large-scale production, especially with regard to quality, time and cost.

In Dingolfing and at BMW Group Plant Landshut, the BMW Group produces electric motors in the Competence Center for E-Drive Production. The housing for the fifth-generation highly integrated e-drive is made at BMW Group Plant Steyr.

SOURCE: BMW Group

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