BMW Expanding Plant to Build iNext Electric Crossover
It's an investment of 400 million euros (CAD 589 million).
BMW has just announced a big investment in one of its German plants. The automaker’s largest European plant is being upgraded to build EVs and autonomous vehicles that will be part of the company’s future lineup.
It’s an investment of 400 million euros (CAD 589 million) into Plant Dingolfing, located northeast of Munich in Germany. The facility already builds 10 different models of BMW, including the company’s 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 Series cars. The plant already builds plug-in hybrids including the 530e and 740e models. PHEVs are already close to 10 percent of the facility’s products.
The first fully-electric model for the plant will be the BMW iNext, set to start production in 2021. The extra complexity required to build EVs along with other high-tech upcoming safety features needs a significant rework for the facility.
“As the technology in our cars grows more and more complex, system integration capabilities will become a decisive competitive advantage. With the BMW iNext, our Dingolfing location is demonstrating that we are capable of implementing growing product demands in efficient large-scale industrial production,” said BMW head of production Milan Nedeljkovic.
The iNext is an electric crossover that BMW says will pioneer a number of new innovations for the brand, with technologies including autonomous driving expected to roll out during the model’s life. It will also be the only crossover built alongside the 5, 7, and 8 Series cars on the same production line.
Parts of the shop were interrupted for up to four weeks back in August as part of the remodelling and preparation for the new vehicles. BMW says that its body shop was a big part of the changes. Not a simple place for fender and paintwork, a body shop here is where the entire body structure is assembled from individual stampings.
With materials in use including steel, aluminum, and composites like carbon fibre reinforced plastic, as well as the more complex floor assembly required for the high-tech iNext, the plant is getting innovations like one of the longest paint drying ovens in the business.
Sensors for autonomous tech will be installed in an extension of the building that started last year, and axles and transmissions will be built nearby. BMW expects up to 2,000 employees in the electrical components operation long-term, joining the around 19,000 already working at the facility that builds around 1,500 vehicles per day.