BMW builds battery assembly plant in Thailand

BMW has started building its own production facility for fifth-generation high-voltage batteries in Thailand. The high-voltage battery assembly facility on the site in Rayong will prepare the plant there for the production of purely electric cars.

According to the Munich-based company, local BEV production is set to begin in the second half of 2025. The plan was announced last week when Alexander Baraka, head of BMW Group Thailand, told journalists that the company had decided to invest in battery production in Thailand. As expected, this is a battery assembly of purchased cells, not the company’s own cell production.

The future high-voltage battery assembly plant covers 4,000 square metres and represents “an important expansion of the business activities of BMW Group Manufacturing Thailand”. According to BMW, imported battery cells will be assembled into modules in the new production facility and then integrated into the high-voltage battery.

Local production

“The BMW Group has invested more than 1.6 billion baht (approx. 42 million euros) in the project, a significant share of which – almost 1.4 billion baht (approx. 36 million euros) – will be used to buy state-of-the-art equipment and systems,” says BMW.

The BMW Group has been producing high-voltage batteries in Thailand for locally-made plug-in hybrids since 2019. Plant Rayong manufactures around two dozen BMW, Mini, and BMW Motorrad models for the Thai as well as various ASEAN markets. In 2023, output totaled more than 12,000 cars and almost 11,000 motorcycles.

The combustion engines and hybrids are intended not only for the local market but also for export. This will therefore also be possible with a purely electric car from next year.

Current fifth-generation model

BMW has not yet specified which model it will be. As it is the fifth generation of the high-voltage batteries, it is at least clear that it will be one of the current electric models: Generation five involves prismatic cells, which are painted by BMW and installed in modules before those very modules are assembled into a ready-to-install battery pack.

With the ‘Neue Klasse’, which is scheduled to go into production in Hungary in 2025, BMW is not only switching to round cells for the sixth generation of batteries, but also to a cell-to-pack concept without modules.

“Local production of high-voltage batteries in Rayong is the next logical step in the continued electrification of our production network,” says BMW Board Member for Production Milan Nedeljković, who traveled to Rayong for the ground-breaking ceremony.

“Once again, the principle of ‘local for local’ applies, supporting economic development, employment opportunities, and knowledge transfer in Thailand and the ASEAN region.”

“As well as developing its own workforce, the BMW Group is very much involved in boosting the industry in Thailand and the global transition to mobility solutions that help conserve resources,” the press release says.

“This year it is collaborating with UNICEF in Thailand to improve career opportunities for young people through a targeted STEM education programme, training and careers advice.”


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