SPARTANBURG, SC—BMW Group plans to invest $1.7 billion in its U.S. operations, including $1 billion to prepare for the production of electric vehicles at its flagship factory here. The automaker will also spend  $700 million to construct a new 1-million-square-foot battery assembly facility in nearby Woodruff, SC. By 2030, BMW will build at least six fully electric models in the United States.

“For decades, Plant Spartanburg has been a cornerstone of [our] global success,” says Oliver Zipse, chairman of the board of management at BMW Group. “It is he home of the BMW X models that are so popular all over the world. Going forward, it will also be a major driver for our electrification strategy.

“In addition, we can showcase [our] ‘local for local’ principle,” explains Zipse. “Our newly developed sixth-generation battery cells, which were specifically designed for next-generation electric vehicles, will be sourced in South Carolina, where X goes electric.”

As part of its local for local strategy, BMW plans to purchase battery cells for its EVs near where production takes place. The company is partnering with Envision AESC, to build a new factory in South Carolina, which will mass-produce round lithium-ion battery cells.

According to Zipse, the new battery format will increase energy density by more than 20 percent, improve charging speed by up to 30 percent and enhance range by up to 30 percent. He also claims that CO2 emissions from cell production will be reduced by up to 60 percent through the partial use of secondary lithium, cobalt and nickel material, as well as renewable energy for production.

BMW’s Spartanburg plant currently produces lithium-ion battery modules for two plug-in hybrid electric vehicles: the X3 xDrive30e and the X5 xDrive45e. In 2021, nearly 70,000 electrified BMWs were built at the factory.

The 30-year-old assembly plant currently produces 11 models, including the BMW X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7 sport utility vehicles, four BMW M models and two plug-in hybrid electric models.  Production of the all-new hybrid-electric XM will begin later this year. The plant is supported by more than 300 companies in the U.S., including more than 40 Tier One suppliers in South Carolina alone.

“This is a very important step for Plant Spartanburg as we continue our legacy of producing high-quality vehicles and build on the success of the last 30 years,” says Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing Co. “With this latest investment, we future-proof our operations and prepare the plant for electrification and new technologies, ensuring both the long-term success of our company and our position as an attractive and viable employer in the state of South Carolina.”