BMW Doubles Down on EVs and Batteries With a Huge Investment in the U.S.

BMW's Spartanburg Plant 8 photos
Photo: BMW NA
2024 BMW X3 rendering2024 BMW X3 prototype2024 BMW X3 prototype2024 BMW X3 prototype2024 BMW X3 prototypeBMW's Spartanburg PlantBMW's Spartanburg Plant
BMW decided to move the all-electric MINI production from the UK to China just a couple of days ago. Now, a contrasting decision comes into play – the U.S. is the place where the German automaker will spend around $1.7 billion to manufacture batteries and introduce six new electric vehicles made almost entirely in America. Here’s how BMW Group plans on spending the money.
BMW closed last year’s chapter with a conviction – the brand was going to become an EV maker while keeping its internal combustion engine customers happy. That’s when the CEO confirmed the marque will add around 6,000 jobs for the EV side of the business just in 2022 alone.

Back in June, the company announced it will invest over $1 billion in an Austrian Magna Steyr plant. That’s where a new all-electric drivetrain is being prepared for the NEUE KLASSE – BMW’s way of letting us know that they’ll bring better EVs to the market starting in 2025.

Now, the German manufacturer continues to push on. This time, it’s doing so in the U.S. The $1.7 billion investment is going to turn Spartanburg, South Carolina, into an even more important manufacturing and distribution hub for the brand. Currently employing around 11,000 people who work mostly to bring customers the X Series vehicles, the company is expected to hire even more Americans.

Around $1 billion will be used to prepare the Spartanburg plant for EV manufacturing, while the $700 million will go to Envision AESC for their new battery plant that is going to be built in Woodruff, which is only 17 mi (27 km) away from BMW’s factory. That’s how the Bavarians intend on shortening the supply chains and lowering their carbon footprint. This investment will also create around 300 new jobs.

BMW Chairman of the Board Oliver Zipse said the Spartanburg plant – known as “Home of the X” – will slowly become the “Home of the Battery Electric Vehicle.” BMW already makes battery modules for the plug-in hybrids X3 and X5 in South Carolina, but this new investment will enable the automaker to go all-in on EVs made in the U.S.

But BMW is not stopping here. The company is also exploring hydrogen and fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). That’s why it will launch a limited batch of iX5s with this type of propulsion system until the end of the year.

The U.S. Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) on August 12th, and President Joe Biden signed it into law on August 16th. The document was hailed as a tax, climate, and health care sweep that had as its goal to lower inflation. For prospective EV owners and manufacturers, the law was confusing, and it still raises some questions even today about the tax credit. However, one thing was clear – if you’re an EV maker and you want your customers to benefit from local, state, and/or federal incentives for buying a zero-tailpipe emission vehicle, then make sure most of it is made in the U.S. or Northern America.

Lastly, investments in vehicle and battery manufacturing and assembling have grown in the last two months, but they were already on a positive trend. It is estimated by LinkedIn that there are currently over 19,000 jobs available in various EV-related domains.
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Editor's note: Gallery also shows photos of a rendered 2024 BMW X3 and spyshots of the same model.

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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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