BMW is taking a pragmatic approach to battery manufacture, as it opts not to bring battery cell production in-house. This is despite the transition to EVs being faster than expected for the German automaker, with EV sales doubling and order books full.
Homegrown rivals Daimler and Volkswagen both have direct stakes in battery cell manufacturers, with the former planning to build eight gigafactories, and the latter six battery cell plants with the help of partners.
Although every BMW factory will eventually house a battery assembly site and the company will construct its own pilot plant, the automaker will rely on partners for its cells for the foreseeable future.
Read: Mercedes Opts To Bring Production Of EV Powertrains In-House From 2024
Explaining why BMW was in no rush to scale up its own cell production, finance chief Nicolas Peter told Reuters: “We are not yet at the point where we can say what technology will accompany us for the next 10-15 years. That’s why it’s important to invest a lot of resources with worldwide partners in battery cell development.”
Despite a push from BMW’s works council chief to create jobs by securing an increase in battery output, the German automaker appears to be happy to rely on its partners as battery tech continues to advance.
Last year, BMW kept output high amid a crisis for virtually all automakers , many of which ran short of semiconductors needed in production. But BMW dethroned Daimler in global sales for the first time in five years, out-delivering its rival by just under 200,000 units. Meanwhile, Volkswagen, which saw a similar increase in BEV sales, ended up selling 4.5 percent fewer vehicles in 2021, year on year. BMW, on the other hand, plans to hit the upper end of its 9.5–10.5 percent profit margin for 2021.
BMW’s consistently high output during a particularly challenging time for the auto industry is largely attributed to the relationship the company holds with its suppliers. Currently, BMW obtains its EV battery cells from CATL, Samsung, and Northvolt, among others.
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