BMW Group has partnered with Belgian company Umicore to establish a local supply chain in North America. BMW aims to source components like battery cells close to vehicle production and gradually localize the supply chain for primary materials. Umicore will provide BMW’s battery cell supplier AESC with cathode active battery materials from a new plant in Ontario, Canada, strengthening BMW’s regional supply chains and expanding e-mobility.
In accordance with the “local for local” principle, BMW’s partner AESC is currently building a battery cell factory in Florence, South Carolina. With an initial capacity of 30 GWh/a, the facility will produce cylindrical lithium-ion battery cells specifically developed for the sixth generation of BMW eDrive technology. Electricity for the production of battery cells and cathode raw material will come exclusively from renewable sources.
“The BMW Group pursues a globally balanced procurement strategy in the three main geographical regions of the world,” said Joachim Post, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Purchasing and Supplier Network. “Our battery cell supplier in the US will source key primary materials from Canada going forward. We are pleased that Canada is playing a strong role in establishing a robust and efficient battery cell supply chain for the BMW Group in North America.”
Oliver Zipse, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, previously announced an extensive investment of 1.7 billion US dollars in expansion of the US production site back in October, 2022. This includes 700 million US dollars to build the BMW Group’s new assembly centre in Woodruff, which will provide high-voltage batteries for the fully-electric BMW X models in the future. In the initial phase, the roughly 93,000 square metre facility will produce sixth-generation battery modules. The assembly centre will also create about 300 new jobs.
The new sixth-generation battery format will increase energy density by more than 20 percent and improve charging speed and range by up to 30%. At the same time, CO2 emissions from cell production will be reduced by up to 60 percent as cell suppliers increasingly rely on energy from renewable resources and use a percentage of secondary material for the lithium, cobalt, and nickel raw materials.
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