Automobile

BMW boosts battery assembly in Germany for Mini crossover EV

LEIPZIG — BMW is adding a third battery assembly line and five cell varnishing lines at its Leipzig plant in Germany by 2024, with two more high voltage battery assembly lines to follow after that.

The high voltage batteries will go into the full-electric version of the Mini Countryman crossover that will be produced at the plant starting in 2023, BMW said in a statement on Thursday.

The automaker assembles batteries in two further plants in Germany – Dingolfing and Regensburg – as well as its U.S. Spartanburg site and its Shenyang plant in China.

BMW also said it is testing a burner able to operate on both hydrogen and gas in the paint shop in Leipzig.

The burner, developed together with combustion technology firm Saacke with the aim of reducing carbon emissions in the production process, is able to switch from hydrogen to gas or vice-versa while in use.

Automakers looking to reduce dependence on Russian gas have been struggling to find a solution for how to power their paint shops without the fuel.

BMW already uses hydrogen in the production process at its Leipzig plant, with a fleet of hydrogen-powered trucks for logistics transport and five storage tanks on the premises.

The automaker has long defended hydrogen as an alternative CO2-free energy source both for production and as a fuel source for cars, even as other automakers bet exclusively on battery-electric vehicles.

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