BMW has inaugurated its state-of-the-art new EV plant in Shenyang, China. Plant Lydia, as it is called, produces for BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd an extended, fully electric version of the classic 3-Series we know, but exclusively for China.
Plant Lydia is the first BMW Group plant fully planned and simulated in the virtual world from the start according to BMW’s iFACTORY strategy, meaning it is ‘lean, green and digital’. It’s BMW Brilliance’s third factory in Shenyang, bringing the carmaker’s total production capacity in that region up to 830 000 vehicles a year.
Artificial lakes and 11 000 trees
Being ‘green’, translates into green areas consisting of gardens, artificial lakes, a variety of plants and 11 000 trees, sustainable landscaping, and a sponge city system collecting rainwater to nourish plants and replenish underground water.
All three factories in Shenyang use 100% renewable energy today. A total of 290 000 square meters of solar panels provide 44 000 MWh of electricity per year – enough to power 9 000 houses for an entire year. Another 120 000 sqm of solar panels will be added at Plant Lydia in the coming years.
Datacenter with 1 200 servers
“Plant Lydia is data-driven: cloud-based digital platforms and the Industrial Internet of Things connect every product, process, and person through transparent, always-available, and integrated data. This extensive use of data science enhances quality control, boosts efficiency, and enables predictive maintenance.”, the press release states.
The entire plant is covered with a gigabit 5G network to meet the bandwidth requirements for technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and real-time video transmission, and a new data center with 1 200 servers is running it all.
25% of sales in 2025 will be EVs
“Plant Lydia is fully capable of producing up to 100% electric vehicles. Together with its neighboring plants in Tiexi and Dadong, Lydia will play an important role in accelerating the production of BMW electrified vehicles in China,” says BMW AG Board Member for Production Milan Nedeljković.
BMW aims for more than a quarter of its sales in China to be all-electric by 2025. With the new Lydia Plant, the carmaker shows it is confident in China’s long-term perspectives as the world’s largest electric car market.
Chinese BMW i3
The ‘Chinese BMW i3’ production – BMW’s first all-electric mid-size sports sedan for the Chinese market – started at Plant Lydia in May. Although it carries the name ‘i3’, it is in no way a successor to the first (compact) electric model launched by BMW in 2013.
The i3 eDrive35L is a classic rear-wheel-drive car with an electric motor and drive differential housed in the rear axle; the boot doesn’t suffer significantly from the battery switch and still offers 410 liters of maximum capacity.
The battery is integrated into the vehicle’s floor to keep the center of gravity low. The inverter, electronics, and electric air conditioning unit lie under the classic front hood. The electric motor delivers 210 kW and 400 Nm, and the car has an official consumption of 14,3 kWh/100 km.
With a battery capacity of 70,3 kWh (66,1 kWh net), it would achieve a CLTC driving range of 526 kilometers. Note that the Chinese measurement method is more optimistic than the European WLTP driving cycle. Prices start from 349 900 yuan, corresponding to just under € 50 000.