BMW Starts Building New Battery Plant for All-Electric X Sport Utility Vehicles

BMW Plant Woodruff and BMW iX3 7 photos
Photo: BMW / edited
BMW embraced full electrification a long time ago. Following a plethora of zero-emission concepts, the Bavarian automaker unleashed its first production electric vehicle – the i3 – in 2013. A decade later, the Munich-based company advances its electrification plans with a new battery plant.
Plant Woodruff in South Carolina will make high-voltage batteries for upcoming full-electric X sport utility vehicles at Plant Spartanburg. Sixth-generation batteries, that is. The facility will create in excess of 300 jobs. A technology building and support buildings are in the offing as well, with the Woodruff complex estimated to feature more than one million square feet (92,930 square meters) over 315 acres (13,721,400 square feet or 1,274,760 square meters) of land.

In keeping with industry trends, Plant Woodruff advocates for sustainability by using 100 percent green electricity. BMW further promises that carbon dioxide emissions per vehicle across the lifecycle of said vehicle will be reduced by 40 percent by the end of the decade. Smart motors from BMW i Ventures partner Turntide will reduce HVAC energy consumption by 40 percent, and rainwater will be harvested to reduce the new plant's reliance on the mains water supply.

Today's groundbreaking wouldn't have been possible without a $1.7 billion investment announced in October 2022. $1 billion is going to Plant Spartanburg for the production of next-generation electric utility vehicles, and the remaining 700 million dollars will be used for the Woodruff battery plant.

Regarding the company's next-gen electric utility vehicles, look forward to six at the very least. From smallest to largest, the list comprises the iX3, iX4, iX5, iX6, iX7, and iXM.

The next-generation X3 and X4 will use a development of the CLAR platform underpinning the outgoing models. The iX3 and iX4 are reportedly getting the Neue Klasse platform. Confusingly enough, the iX5 through iXM will ride on the CLAR instead of a dedicated platform like the New Class.

On the other hand, that's not a bad thing. BMW says the aesthetically challenged iX rides on a bespoke architecture, yet it uses a whole lotta bits and pieces from the CLAR that currently underpins everything from the 2 Series Coupe to the 7 Series luxobarge.

BMW has already confirmed that its first Neue Klasse model will be the size of the 3 Series, which is the three-box equivalent to the X3 compact executive sport utility vehicle. In other words, the hearsay according to which there's an iX3 in the pipeline certainly holds water. It remains to be seen, however, whether the iX3 will debut before the i3 or not.

It's worth noting that BMW already produces an electric X3 in China under the iX3 handle, albeit you can't buy one in the United States due to its poor specifications. Presented at the 2018 Beijing Motor Show, the G08 doesn't even feature a dual-motor option. It's rear-wheel drive only, and its driving range is estimated at 461 kilometers (286 miles) under the WLTP.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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