BMW Group has taken a significant step towards establishing electric vehicle (EV) production in the United States while also promoting South Carolina as a thriving hub for battery and vehicle manufacturing. Construction has officially begun on the Plant Woodruff facility, which will complement BMW’s existing factories in the state and further solidify their commitment to electric mobility.
Renowned German automaker BMW Group has long been synonymous with blending sportiness and luxury in its vehicles. However, it is only in recent times that the company has ventured into the realm of all-electric models. Despite the growing lineup of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), BMW still imports these models to the US from overseas.
Under revised terms established in the Inflation Reduction Act, signed last summer, only one electrified BMW vehicle currently qualifies for federal tax credits in the US—the 2024 X5 plug-in hybrid. To address this issue and continue delivering compliant vehicles, BMW Group Chair Oliver Zipse announced a substantial investment of $1.7 billion in US operations in October last year. The plans encompass allocating $1 billion to convert the existing Spartanburg plant in South Carolina to enable BEV production.
In addition, BMW Group has committed a further $700 million towards the construction of a new high-voltage EV battery facility in Woodruff, South Carolina. This facility will be responsible for producing the sixth-generation batteries that will power the EVs in BMW’s pipeline, manufactured at Spartanburg, located just 20 miles away.
Today, BMW announced the groundbreaking ceremony for its latest facility in South Carolina, marking a significant milestone in the company’s expansion as an EV hub in the US.
BMW Group confirmed that construction of the high-voltage battery plant has officially commenced, heralding the creation of over 300 new jobs in South Carolina, with potential for further growth. The site spans an impressive 315 acres, and upon completion, the facility will encompass over one million square feet. It will include a dedicated technology building, fire department, and energy center.
Furthermore, the Woodruff facility will operate entirely on green electricity, eschewing fossil fuels, and will be designed to be “solar ready.”
The 300 new EV associates will receive training at BMW’s Technical Training Center (TTC), which opened at the Spartanburg facility in October of last year. The TTC is set to become the epicenter for EV training for all employees across North and South America, as highlighted by Ilka Horstmeier, BMW’s board member responsible for human resources and real estate:
“We’re making the BMW Group electric. Our new battery assembly plant in Woodruff will soon play an important role in our electric future here in the USA. Through the Woodruff plant, we expand our footprint in the state of South Carolina. At the same time, we are taking our associates with us in this transformation. Our new Technical Training Center at the Spartanburg plant will prepare our 11,000 associates for the future. In this way, we are taking responsibility as a reliable employer and offer future-proof jobs at the same time.”
The Woodruff facility aligns with BMW’s “local for local” business strategy in the US, which involves the production of newly developed round lithium-ion battery cells in collaboration with partner AESC. AESC recently broke ground on its own site in Florence, South Carolina, on June 7, where they will produce these battery cells.
Once both battery facilities are fully operational, AESC will transport the cells manufactured in Florence to Woodruff, South Carolina. There, BMW will utilize these cells to produce its sixth-generation battery modules, which will power future all-electric X models assembled in Spartanburg.