BMW Group Investing $106M In New Battery Testing Center In Germany
BMW Group announced it is investing around $106 million (100 million euros) between now and 2026 in a new electric vehicle battery testing center in Germany as part of its ongoing e-mobility ramp-up.
Located in Wackersdorf, 26 miles north of the city of Regensburg in eastern Bavaria, the center will be integrated into the Wackersdorf Innovation Park site’s existing building structures, which are currently used to manufacture cockpits for BMW vehicles and package vehicle parts for shipping to the company’s overseas factories.
At the site, BMW Group plans to test high-voltage batteries and other electric powertrain components for its future models very early in development, well before the start of production.
From mid-2024, when the first deliverables for BMW Group development activities in the field of high-voltage batteries are expected to go into regular operation, the Wackersdorf site will begin putting batteries through their paces across a total area spanning 90,869 square feet (8,442 square meters).
“The BMW Group’s Wackersdorf location is set to become a major facilitator for the transformation towards electromobility,” said Site Manager Christoph Peters. “In addition to supplying our overseas plants, cockpit production and, from 2024, door production for Rolls-Royce models, this will become Wackersdorf’s fourth main area of activity. This, in turn, strengthens our location’s future viability.”
BMW Innovation Park in Wackersdorf
The investment will mainly focus on complex bench test technology and the upgrades to the building’s existing infrastructure needed for their operation. In mid-2024, the so-called “battery testers” will be put into service with the commissioning of the Hall 80, which is currently being remodeled for battery testing.
Looking like large refrigerators from the outside, the battery testers feature cutting-edge high tech inside that enables battery cells to be tested 24/7, early in their development.
The testers determine the electrical performance of individual battery cells during charging and discharging under different conditions, allowing the simulation of use cases that will be relevant for customers later. Initially, parallel testing of several hundred battery cells will be possible, but once the ramp-up is complete, testing capacity will reach several thousand.
From 2025 onwards, the testing center will enter the final phase that will allow the validation of BMW Group’s battery-electric vehicles ahead of the official launch of series production in order to ensure the required premium quality.
This will include subjecting the batteries to vibration and shock tests, for example, using so-called “shakers.” BMW says there are currently only a few of these complex testing devices across Europe.
The facility will also enable the simulation of endurance tests consisting of complex driving patterns, including charging and discharging cycles. Interestingly, BMW did not say whether the company’s current cells or the upcoming round cells for Neue Klasse EVs – or both – will be tested at the site.
Source: BMW Group
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