BMW starts prepping new Austrian e-drive production site

German carmaker BMW has completed construction of the new production halls at its Steyr site in central Austria and is now adding half a billion worth of equipment for the future manufacturing and development of its Neue Klasse e-drives. Pre-series production will launch in the summer of 2024, and serial production will start in the autumn.

Regarding development, BMW will have some 17,000 developers across multiple engineering disciplines worldwide using a new engineering platform based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform of French Dassault Systèmes in a long-term strategic partnership.

“The 300 machines for Steyr are all shapes and sizes, from small, individual items to the over 30 meter-long ‘marriage’ station. Here, four robots and other systems will work in concert to fit the transmission to the main motor,” explains Helmut Hochsteiner, head of electric drives at the BMW Group site in Steyr.

For over 40 years, BMW has built diesel and gasoline engines at the BMW Group Plant Steyr in Austria, where 4,500 people work in production and development. BMW says its Austrian plant ships over a million engines and 10 million core engine components every year – powering about half of all BMWs and MINIs worldwide.

Green power and heat from biomass

Now, the BMW Group’s giant engine plant also makes components for e-mobility. The plant’s website shows that e-drive technology “will play an even more significant role in the location in the future”.

“Starting in 2025, the next generation of BMW Group e-drives will be built here. Steyr is also breaking new ground as a development site developing an all-new high-performance electric drive train.” From 2025 at the latest, the Neue Klasse e-drives will be produced using CO2-neutral energy – thanks to green power and heat from biomass.

According to the press release, by 2030, the BMW Group will invest 1 billion euros in e-drive production at its Steyr facility. The plant will manufacture over 600,000 e-drives a year alongside diesel and gasoline units. Production of these will also remain high, with combustion engines forming an essential part of Steyr’s product portfolio well into the future.

Future engineering platform

For all future developments in multiple car manufacturing disciplines, BMW will equip its engineers with the latest 3D modeling software tools in partnership with Dassault Systèmes.

Dassault Systèmes (also known as 3DS) is a spin-off of the French aerospace giant that develops sophisticated drafting tools to streamline the engineering process and assist in the increasing complexity of aviation and car design.

The Dassault Group subsidiary, founded in 1981, has over 22,000 people in 197 locations worldwide. Dassault is also active in electric car development via its daughter Société de Véhicules Electriques (SVE), a joint venture between Dassault and Heuliez to develop electric and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles.

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