BMW starts building second-life battery farm at BMW i3 factory in Leipzig
By: +David Herron; Date: October 26, 2017
In the 4+ years since BMW started mass production of the BMW i3, sales have reached nearly 100,000 electric and plug-in-hybrid BMW i3's, and yearly production capacity stands at around 25,000 vehicles. By comparison, that is one quarter of Tesla's production capacity for the Model S and Model X, meaning that Tesla Motors has achieved a faster production growth velocity than BMW. In any case the BMW i3 is a fine electric car, and BMW has achieved a significant milestone.
One step taken to mark the occasion is innauguration of a second-life battery facility at the BMW i3 factory in Leipzig. The phrase "second life" means that after a battery pack's first life as the traction battery in a car, it can be repurposed as an energy storage unit.
What happens to an electric car battery pack that's depleted to 80% usable capacity? That battery still has significant usable capacity, and can be reused. In theory. Hence the "second life" concept.
The facility being built by BMW will hold 700 BMW i3 battery packs, some recycled from old cars, the others from newly produced packs. It is to be paired with wind turbines on the site, to time-shift some of the electricity produced by those turbines to being used at other times of day.
Launch of BMW Battery Storage Farm with second-life batteries 100,000th BMW i3 built at Plant Leipzig Production of BMW i8 Roadster as site’s third BMW i vehicle Harald Krüger: We continue to build on BMW i
Leipzig. The BMW Group continues to build on its leading international role in the field of electro-mobility, as the 100,000th BMW i3 rolled off the production line at the company’s Leipzig plant today. The BMW i3 has played a major part in making the BMW Group one of the most successful suppliers of electrified vehicles worldwide. Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and Plant Director Hans-Peter Kemser celebrated this milestone with Saxony’s Minister-President Stanislaw Tillich, other guests and plant employees. At the event, Krüger and Kemser also presented the next member of the BMW i family, the BMW i8 Roadster, as a camouflaged prototype; series production of the BMW i8 Roadster will begin in 2018. A further highlight was today’s official commissioning of the BMW Battery Storage Farm Leipzig, which will connect up to 700 BMW i3 high-capacity batteries. The large-scale battery storage system at the Leipzig plant will give batteries previously installed in BMW i3 cars a second life and put them to profitable use in a sustainable, energy-based business model.
“We are proud of the 100,000th BMW i3 built by our plant in Leipzig. The BMW i3 is the original, a true technological pioneer. With BMW i as our spearhead, we intend to remain the leading premium supplier of electro-mobility going forward. We are now looking ahead to the next member of the BMW i family, the i8 Roadster, which will expand our leading position in the field of electro-mobility. In 2025, we will offer our customers a total of 25 models with electrified drive trains,” said Krüger. “In the interests of sustainability, today we are also presenting a concept for the second use of BMW i3 high-voltage batteries. With our Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT, we are looking far beyond the car itself and driving change in our industry with totally new approaches and business models.”
Saxony’s Minister-President Stanislaw Tillich continued to be impressed with the development of BMW’s Leipzig plant: “Two days after I was elected minister-president for the first time, I came to Leipzig to attend the topping out ceremony for the new BMW press shop. I have followed developments very closely ever since and had conversations with the Board of Management of BMW on a regular basis. The plant began building electric cars in 2013 and, by the end of my term of office, the Leipzig plant will have produced over 100,000 electric cars – now, with its battery farm, BMW is beginning a new chapter in its innovative history. I would like to thank the BMW Group for choosing to make Leipzig the leading production location for premium electric vehicles in Germany. I hope that the BMW Group, with its concentrated innovative power and Leipzig production expertise, will continue to spearhead the automotive revolution of the 21st century. I am confident that BMW will further contribute to the positive economic development of the Leipzig region and Saxony as a car-producing state, through future growth in the areas of electro-mobility and connected driving.”
100,000th BMW i3 from Leipzig
Series production of the BMW i3 began in September 2013. The BMW Group has invested a total of 400 million euros in production of BMW i models at the Leipzig location and created more than 800 jobs. Current daily production of the BMW i3 stands at more than 120 units, with an annual production volume in 2016 of 26,631 vehicles. “We are proud of our team performance, which enables us to celebrate production of the 100,000th BMW i3 today – all with the same premium quality and efficiency as our more conventional models. I would like to thank all our associates for this tremendous achievement,” said Plant Director, Hans-Peter Kemser. Production in Leipzig includes making carbon-fibre parts and painted plastic parts for outer skin panels, the BMW i body shop and BMW i assembly hall.
Series production of the BMW i8 got underway in May 2014 and a total of 2,783 BMW i8s were shipped from the plant in 2016. Production of the most successful hybrid sports car worldwide currently stands at eight to ten vehicles per day.
The next member of the BMW i family, the BMW i8 Roadster, an open-topped version of the sports car, will be released onto the market in 2018.
“Battery2ndLife”: Innovative second use of BMW i3 high-voltage batteries for new business model: BMW Group opens large-scale battery storage in Leipzig
The official commissioning of the battery storage farm on the grounds of BMW Plant Leipzig demonstrates innovative, sustainable and profitable second use of BMW i3 batteries after a vehicle reaches the end of its lifecycle. The battery storage unit in Leipzig can house up to 700 used BMW i3 high-capacity batteries. There are currently 500 new and used batteries integrated, because today – four years after the BMW i3 market launch – most battery packs are still in cars on the road. “The capacity of 700 high-voltage batteries is the equivalent of an electric range of 100,000 km in a BMW i3. The scalable approach means that the storage unit could be further expanded to accommodate more batteries. It is also already compatible with upcoming battery generations and therefore future-proof,” underlined Joachim Kolling, Head of Energy Services at the BMW Group. “We are demonstrating once again that the concept of sustainability at BMW i goes far beyond the car.” With wind turbines located on the grounds of the plant, the BMW Battery Storage Farm Leipzig links decentralised captive production from renewable energies with local energy storage and an industrial consumer in a completely unique way. The stationary battery storage farm is also integrated with the public power grid, which enables its electricity to be marketed as primary balancing power. In this way, the BMW Group is making a contri-bution to the stability of the public power grid and performing a valuable function for the wider community. When there is a surplus of power from renewable energies, large-scale battery storage can relieve the grid by absorbing electricity. When there is not enough power in the electricity grid, the facility can release electricity to help stabilise the grid.
The battery storage farm at BMW Group Plant Leipzig will open up new potential for cost and energy efficiency, as well as CO2 reduction in the energy sector. It is yet another example of practical steps the BMW Group is taking in its aspiration to become the most sustainable automotive company in the world.
The BMW Battery Storage Farm project in Leipzig is part of the WindNODE initiative, dedicated to promoting intelligent usage and storage systems for renewable energies. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy provides funding for the venture through its "Smart Energy Showcases – Digital Agenda for the Energy Transition" (SINTEG) programme.
BMW Group Plant Leipzig
BMW Group Plant Leipzig is one of the most modern and sustainable car plants in the world. Series production began in March 2005. Today, more than 860 vehicles roll off the assembly line every day from classic production: Currently, these are the BMW 1 Series five-door version, the BMW 2 Series Coupé and Convertible, the BMW 2 Series M Coupé and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. In addition, the plant also builds more than 120 BMW i3s and BMW i8s per day – two ground-breaking vehicles with alternative drive trains and innovative lightweight bodies.
Total investment in Leipzig to date exceeds two billion euros. The plant currently employs a permanent staff of more than 5,300 associates.
The BMW Group
With its four brands BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 31 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.
In 2016, the BMW Group sold approximately 2.367 million cars and 145,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax was approximately € 9.67 billion on revenues amounting to € 94.16 billion. As of 31 December 2016, the BMW Group had a workforce of 124,729 employees.
The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy.
A total of 70 partners from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Berlin, Saxony and Thuringia work together on the WindNODE project to connect energy producers, electricity grid operators, suppliers and consumers through an ICT platform. The goal is to organise supply and demand in such a way that large quantities of renewable energy can be introduced to the grid without causing major voltage fluctuations. A further aim is to develop innovative business models for suppliers, as well as consumer protection and data security standards, market designs and systems architecture. WindNODE receives funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as one of five model regions in the “Smart Energy Showcases – Digital Agenda for the Energy Transition”.