The company aims to produce six electric models in the United States and aims for 50% of its global sales to come from electric vehicles by 2030.
The German company will spend $1 billion to increase production of electric cars at its plant in Spartanburg. The company has already invested $12 billion in the plant, which can produce 450,000 a year. The seven million square foot facility currently employs 11,000 people. BMW did not say how many new positions the investment will create.
The plant currently produces a range of models including the BMW X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7. About 70% of the vehicles are manufactured in Spartanburg.
BMW is also investing $700 million in a new battery assembly plant in Woodruff, which currently employs 300 people.
Japanese company Envision AESC will supply lithium-ion batteries to BMW. As part of the new partnership between the two companies, Envision will build a new battery factory at an undisclosed location in South Carolina, which will then be shipped to BMW's Woodruff plant for assembly.
“The new cells will have a battery chemistry that will increase the amount of energy they can store by more than 20% and improve charging speed and enhance range by up to 30%,” reports Fox News.
BMW currently produces two fully electric vehicles – the iX sports car and the i4 Gran Coupe. Later this year, the company will produce a new XM hybrid electric model and launch its i7 electric sedan.
BMW Chairman Oliver Zipse told CNBC that he supports the Biden administration's goal of making half of all electric car sales by 2030, but that the U.S. will need to change its EV infrastructure.
“With today’s infrastructure, we will not get there, but of course we have 10 years time to build up together an infrastructure for charging needs, and so on,” he said. “And I think with the infrastructure goals which the Biden administration set, I think there’s a good opportunity to at least come very close to that market.”
By establishing a plug-in electric car factory in the United States, BMW will qualify for federal tax credits for electric cars. The U.S. government is offering automakers who assemble electric cars domestically a $7,500 credit per car. However, the cars must have a battery made in North America, with 40% of its metal mined or recycled in the United States, Mexico or Canada.
Other major automakers are making similar changes in production and business models.
“The auto industry’s shift to EV production and the newly passed tax credit have led to a boom in new battery factories in the US. Most of the new facilities will be located in southern states, leading some to call the region the ‘Battery Belt,’” per .
Hyundai, Honda, Chevrolet, Ford, Cadillac, GMC and Volkswagon have started producing electric cars in the domestic market.