BMW announced today that they would invest an additional $1.4 billion in their Chinese battery production facility.
Among numerous other German luxury automakers, BMW has found substantial success in the Chinese market in recent years. Still, as the huge Chinese car market has moved towards electric vehicles, the company now must work to keep up with demand. According to the South China Morning Post, BMW is looking to do just that with an investment of $1.4 billion into a pre-existing battery production facility in the country.
BMW’s Lydia battery plant, which notably supplied batteries for the BMW i3 and iX3, has been a substantial part of BMW’s supply chain for a long time. And while the plant’s expansion was rumored last month, it has now been confirmed by BMW CEO Oliver Zipse. This news comes shortly after the CEO stated that German production would also shift to EVs quicker than expected, aiming for one in three vehicles produced in Bavaria, Germany, to be fully electric.
The hope with this new facility is that BMW will be able to get cars to customers faster and aid in the company’s continued growth in the region. It is unclear from reporting how the funds will be allocated; however, it is clear that the focus is on expanding production capacity. While having an incredibly successful first three quarters of a year (selling ~53,000 EVs in China), BMW still lags substantially behind Tesla.
This is not BMW Group’s only move in China, either. The automotive group decided earlier this year to relocate MINI EV production to China, and the BMW brand has been working on expanding EV offerings to China as quickly as possible.
Other German brands have mirrored the move as well. Mercedes has dramatically expanded EV offerings in China, far more than even in their home continent of Europe. And numerous Volkswagen Group brands, including Audi and Porsche, have worked to secure production in the country.
There is no doubt that the Chinese market can demonstrate immense demand for electric vehicles, but as BMW moves to EV production quicker than expected, will consumers worldwide choose to buy from the German brand over offerings from other brands? Only time will tell.