German premium car manufacturer BMW will produce a second electric model at its German factory in Regensburg this year. The fully electric iX2 will follow the iX1 that has been coming off the lines in Regensburg since autumn 2022. Meanwhile, BMW is doing the final testing of its new 5 Series in the South of France.
By late 2023, BMW plans to hire around 500 new employees at the site and invest more than € 350 million in vehicle production. The statement does not precisely summarise the production areas where investments will flow. What is clear, however, is that BMW will prepare the plant for an increasing number of battery-electric cars.
After all, in Q1 2023, every fifth car produced in Regensburg was a BEV, i.e., an iX1. And that’s just a short while after series production started in mid-November. BMW reportedly targets that by 2024 at least every third BMW from one of the plants in Bavaria should be electric.
With today’s 20% share of electric vehicles, Regensburg could manage the increase to 33% even with the rising demand for the iX1 alone. With the iX2 as a second BEV model, the probability increases further.
The high-voltage batteries for the electric cars are also assembled near the plant. The E-component factory (plant 6.11) in Leibnizstraße covers a production area of around 45 000 square meters. Since commissioning in the autumn of 2022, around 30 000 high-voltage batteries for Regensburg’s vehicle production have been assembled there.
The plant had already started painting battery cells in April 2021. In the process, the aluminum housings of the prismatic cells are coated with a thick varnish, which, according to BMW, increases the mechanical robustness and thermal conductivity of the battery cell. By the end of 2021, the painting was expanded from one to four lines, and in October 2022, assembly of the high-voltage batteries also began.
“The close connection of component production to vehicle production is part of our strategy. Within less than two years, we have completely converted our component plant in Leibnizstrasse for electromobility,” says Markus Fallböhmer, Head of Battery Production at the BMW Group.
Technical data on the iX2 remain unknown. The powertrain will probably not differ significantly from the iX1. The latter uses a 64,7 kWh battery and an electric all-wheel drive with 200 kW system power (230 kW in boost).
The range of this compact SUV (and already a best-seller in the EV range) is between 413 and 438 kilometers, depending on the trim. The somewhat more streamlined SUV coupé iX2 should have a slightly higher range, but WLTP values for this model are not yet available.
i5 final summer testing
Meanwhile, BMW has been fine-tuning all suspension control and driver assistance systems of the soon-to-be-launched i5 at the BMW Group’s test center in Miramas (Southern France). The car’s world premiere is foreseen in a couple of weeks.
The flexible drive system technology offered by the new BMW 5 Series range – with the choice between classical internal combustion engines, plug-in-hybrid solutions, and fully electric drive systems – leads to wide variations in vehicle weight. “With this in mind, model-specific, case-by-case chassis tuning and corresponding application of all control systems deliver signature BMW driving pleasure, regardless of the drive concept involved,” says the press release.
As the range-topping model variant, the BMW i5 M60 xDrive (WLTP electric power consumption combined: 21,.2 – 17.9 kWh/100 km]) is fitted as standard with Adaptive Suspension Professional, including electronically controlled dampers. This suspension system can also be specified as an option for the BMW i5 eDrive40 (electric power consumption combined: 19.7 – 16.0 kWh/100 km).
“Thanks to an innovative form of BMW Vertical Dynamics Management, it offers a noticeable increase in sports performance combined with a level of ride comfort that also represents a clear step forward from that of its predecessor, ” BMW promises.
Production of the new, eighth-generation BMW 5 Series Sedan will begin in the summer of 2023 at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing in Bavaria. The car’s market launch will get underway in October 2023.
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