BMW breaks ground on the Woodruff EV production facility in South Carolina

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North Carolina Construction News staff writer

BMW broke ground on the Woodruff EV production facility in South Carolina June 27, eight months after announcing the expansion plan.

“Today’s groundbreaking is the start of a new era at Plant Spartanburg as we prepare to produce fully electric BMW X models for the world,” said president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing Dr. Robert Engelhorn. “The road to the future begins here in Woodruff as we build on our legacy of producing high-quality vehicles right here in the U.S. Plant Woodruff will be state-of-the-art in terms of sustainability, flexibility, and digitalization.”

“Today’s groundbreaking is the start of a new era at Plant Spartanburg as we prepare to produce fully electric BMW X models for the world,” said Dr. Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. “The road to the future begins here in Woodruff as we build on our legacy of producing high-quality vehicles right here in the U.S. Plant Woodruff will be state-of-the-art in terms of sustainability, flexibility, and digitalization.”

Last October, BMW Group announced a new $1.7 billion investment in its U.S. operations, including $1 billion to prepare Plant Spartanburg for the production of fully electric vehicles and $700 million to build a new high-voltage battery assembly plant. The Woodruff facility, located on 315 acres near the city, will be more than one million square feet in size that includes construction of a technology building and support buildings such as a cafeteria, fire department, and energy center.

“I am proud to celebrate BMW’s groundbreaking for Plant Woodruff. This new high-voltage battery assembly factory once again proves that South Carolina is a leader in the EV industry and furthers our reputation as an automotive powerhouse,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with BMW as they continue to help move South Carolina forward.”

As part of the BMW Group’s “local for local” approach, the company will purchase battery cells for its electric vehicles from partner AESC, which is building a new 30 GWh battery cell factory in Florence, South Carolina, with BMW as its first customer.

AESC broke ground for its new plant on June 7. They will produce newly developed round lithium-ion battery cells, specifically designed for the sixth generation of BMW eDrive technology. The new battery format will increase energy density by more than 20 percent and improve charging speed and range by up to 30 percent. At the same time, CO2 emissions from cell production will be reduced by up to 60 percent through the partial use of secondary lithium, cobalt, and nickel material, as well as renewable energy for production.

Battery cells produced at the AESC facility in Florence will be shipped to Plant Woodruff, where the cells will be used to manufacture batteries for fully electric BMW X models at Plant Spartanburg. By 2030, Plant Spartanburg will build at least six fully electric BMWs.

Sustainability features will be used at both plants, including:

  • Plant Woodruff will be operated without fossil fuels and will use 100 percent green electricity. In addition, CO2 emissions per vehicle across the lifecycle will fall by 40 percent by 2030.
  • The structure is “solar ready,” meaning it supports the installation of a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system in the future.
  • The facility uses a highly energy efficient concept with only 67 kwh/m²a energy consumption.
  • Smart LED lighting and occupancy sensors combined with dimming strategies to reduce energy consumption for lighting.
  • Significant reduction in water consumption at the plant. Rainwater will also be harvested and used.
  • BMW will use technology from CarbonCure that injects captured CO2 into fresh concrete during the mixing process. This concrete will be used in sections of the facility. This sequesters CO2 permanently at a molecular level and increases the strength of the concrete.
  • Use of highly efficient electrical “smart” motors from Turntide, a BMW iVentures partner, to reduce energy consumption by as much as 40 percent in HVAC systems.

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