The BMW Group has announced a partnership with battery cell manufacturer Envision AESC for a facility dedicated to battery development and production in South Carolina.
The Group has confirmed that its new partnership with Envision AESC, the latter established by Nissan and Japanese technology conglomerate NEC Corporation in 2008 to supply battery cells for the Leaf EV, revolves around a $1.7 billion (all figures in US dollars) investment. $1 billion will be used to expand BMW’s existing Spartanburg plant for EV production, while the remaining $700 million will go into the build of a new high-voltage battery assembly facility – encompassing “over 1 million sq. ft.” – in nearby Woodruff.
Cells for the new assembly plant will be provided by Envision AESC, which will also build a new plant in South Carolina, though a firm location has not yet been confirmed. AESC, part of China’s Envision Group since 2018, will continue to supply Nissan alongside its new BMW commitments.
The new facility will supply BMW’s Spartanburg plant with next-generation, lithium-ion battery cells “specifically designed for the sixth generation of BMW eDrive technology.” These next generation calls are said to increase energy density by 20 per cent, boast faster charging speeds, and enhance electric range by up to 30 per cent.
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Annual capacity at the plant will be up to 30 GWh, with Envision AESC also looking to decrease C02 emissions from cell production by up to 60 per cent. This works in accordance with the BMW Group’s own target of dropping C02 emissions by 40 per cent per vehicle by 2030.
BMW did not include a timeframe for the construction as part of its announcement, but did state that, by 2030, “at least six fully electric models” would be built at its US plant. Established in 1992, BMW’s Spartanburg plant – dubbed ‘the home of the X’ – currently builds the X3 through X7 range of SUVs (including the X3 and X5 PHEVs), suggesting that the iX and/or the XM plug-in hybrid will join its production line.