BMW expands EV components production at German plant

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MUNICH — BMW said it will invest 500 million euros ($563 million) at its largest European factory as the automaker bolsters its electric-car manufacturing capabilities to better compete with rivals including Tesla.

BMW will add eight production lines for battery modules and electric motors at the Dingolfing plant in Germany, with four additional lines to be added later, the company said in a news release on Thursday.

By 2022, the site will be able to build electric drives for more than 500,000 cars a year, according to CEO Oliver Zipse.

The upgrades are coming at a crucial time for Zipse, who is trying to prove that his strategy of making combustion, hybrid and electric vehicles on the same production line can result in products capable of competing with those made by Elon Musk’s Tesla.

Volkswagen, by contrast, spent billions of euros on developing a dedicated platform for its e-cars and has switched an entire factory in Zwickau to make battery-powered vehicles based on the new technology.

BMW’s newest battery motors made in Dingolfing and elsewhere are to power the company’s EVs in the coming years.

The first car produced with the new technology will be the iX3 SUV that is assembled in China. BMW’s flagship iNEXT SUV and its i4 electric sedan, both slated for a 2021 release, will also use the technology.

Zipse is trying to balance the investment with cost-cutting needed to survive the slump sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Saurabh Shukla

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