BMW Breaks Ground on High-Tech Battery Competence Center in Munich

BMW Group will invest nearly $250 million in a new facility dedicated to the advancement of battery technology.

Tesla isn’t the only car company betting big on electric vehicles. The leap forward in technology has taken Europe by storm with huge announcements coming from nearly every major manufacturer like the IONITY charging network announced earlier this month.

BMW Group held an event marking the symbolic official ground-breaking of its Battery Cell Competence Center in Munich. The goal of the center is to advance battery cell technology and introduce it into the production process. The total investment for the new center is estimated to be upwards of $240 million.

Speaking at the ceremony Klaus Fröhlich, member of the BMW AG Board of Management responsible for Research and Development said, “We will be concentrating all our in-house expertise along the battery-cell value chain at our new high-tech competence center. International experts working in the new development labs and facilities will conduct important research to refine cell chemistry and cell design. We will focus on further improvements in battery performance, lifespan, safety, charging and also costs. We will set the benchmark for the industry.”

The company is hoping that the dedicated center will help them gain a competitive edge. Specialist departments will be dedicated to the analysis of cell design and cell technology. They will create prototypes for future battery cells, experiment with different materials and chemicals, and try to optimize battery size for specific applications.

BMW is already working on the fifth generation of its electric drivetrain which the company hopes to release in 2021. One major highlight of the new generation is that its electric motor does not require the use of rare Earth metals. This helps circumvent the possibility of a stoppage in production because of a lack of rare Earth metal supply.

Rendering of the new BMW Group Battery Cell Competence Center in Munich, BMW Group

Also in attendance at the ceremony was the Bavarian Minister of Economic Affairs, Ilse Aigner. Aigner said, “With its competence center for battery cell technology, BMW is making another major investment in Bavaria. This shows a clear commitment to our state as an industrial, high-tech manufacturing location. Battery cells are a key technology on the road to emission-free mobility. Bavaria is at the forefront of electromobility – a position we will continue to expand to secure long-term growth, prosperity and jobs.”

It sounds like this battery center is going to be a win-win for everybody. BMW will advance battery tech, Bavaria will get more jobs, and consumers will see the new cutting-edge technology in the cars they buy.