BMW Brilliance Automotive opens high-voltage battery factory in China

Oct 27, 2017   OEM

In conjunction with its partner, Brilliance China Automotive Holdings, the BMW Group has opened a new High-Voltage Battery Centre in Shenyang, China.

The battery factory will supply the nearby Dadong plant, which is operated by the BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) joint venture and will produce the BMW 5 Series Plug-in Hybrid for the local market.

Oliver Zipse, member of the Board of Management of BMW, responsible for Production: "The innovative High-Voltage Battery Centre in Shenyang is an important step in the BMW Group's electro-mobility strategy. It is the first battery factory of any premium automotive manufacturer in China and already the third in our production network, after Germany and the US."

The BMW Group is integrating its battery factories into the existing international production network. Oliver Zipse: "By 2025, we expect our electrified BMW and MINI models to account for between 15 and 25% of global sales. This adds up to several hundred thousand vehicles per year. It therefore makes sense for us to integrate electro-mobility into the existing production system." Doing so will enable the BMW Group to respond flexibly to demand for electrified models.

Competitive edge through in-house know-how

Alongside the electric motor, the high-voltage battery is a central element of partially and fully-electrified vehicles. In-house production gives the BMW Group a decisive competitive advantage by securing know-how in new technologies, gaining key systems expertise and leveraging cost benefits. The company already produces electrified vehicles at ten locations worldwide. The high-voltage batteries needed for these models come from the BMW Group plants in Dingolfing, Spartanburg and now also Shenyang. The Dingolfing plant will play a leading role within the network as the centre of competence for electric drive systems.

From cell to high-voltage battery

Production of high-voltage batteries is divided into two production stages. First, in a highly-automated process, supplied lithium-ion cells, which are about the size of a paperback book, are checked and then combined into a larger unit, the so-called battery module.

The battery modules are then mounted together with the connections, control units and cooling units in an aluminium housing. The size and shape of the aluminium housing, as well as the number of battery modules used, depends on the vehicle variant. In this way, a perfectly adapted "battery pack" or high-voltage battery is created.

This combination of standardised battery modules and housings flexibly adapted to the vehicle has several advantages: It ensures uniform properties and quality standards in the production of high-voltage batteries. The modular design of the high-voltage batteries also forms the basis for a wide variety of electric drive variants. Last but not least, this modular concept is a requirement for responding quickly to customer demand and leveraging cost benefits.

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