By David Shepardson
SPARTANBURG, South Carolina (Reuters) – BMW AG said on Wednesday it will invest $1.7 billion to build electric vehicles in the United States, the latest announcement from major automaker about plans to ramp up U.S. EV production.
The German automaker said it was making a new $1 billion investment in its Spartanburg, South Carolina plant to prepare for EV production and will spend $700 million on a new high-voltage battery assembly facility in nearby Woodruff, South Carolina, and create at least 300 jobs.
“It’s the biggest single investment we’ve done so far,” BMW Group Chairman Oliver Zipse told Reuters in an interview.
BMW also said Chinese renewable energy group Envision’s Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) will build a new battery cell plant in South Carolina with an annual capacity of up to 30 GWh to supply the automaker.
The luxury automaker plans that at least six fully electric BMW models will be built in the United States by 2030.
BMW said its new battery format will increase energy density by more than 20%, improve charging speed and boost range by up to 30%.
BMW Group has already announced four additional battery cell factories will be built in Europe and China to meet its needs. Zipse said the location of another cell factory will be determined by market demand.
The cell factories being built by company partners will each have an annual capacity of up to 20 GWh.
BMW’s 30-year-old South Carolina plant has built more than 6 million vehicles, employs more than 11,000 people, and has an annual production capacity of up to 450,000 vehicles.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)