BMW builds the 100,000th i3 electric car at Leipzig plant, unveils new
energy storage facility
Oct. 26th 2017 Fred Lambert
Speicherfarm auf dem Gelände des BMW Werkes in Leipzig kurz vor der
Einweihung am 26. Oktober 2017
(Speicherfarm on the grounds of the BMW plant in Leipzig shortly before the
inauguration on October 26, 2017)
BMW celebrated today the production of its 100,000th i3 electric car at the
Leipzig plant in Germany today.
While that’s a cool milestone, that wasn’t the coolest thing happening at
the Leipzig plant today. For the occasion, they also inaugurated a new
battery storage facility powered by old BMW i3 battery packs.
Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW, was quite pleased
with the 100,000th i3 milestone.
“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 [pih] 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,
The current daily production of the BMW i3 at Leipzig stands at “more than
120 units, with an annual production volume in 2016 of 26,631 vehicles.”
They also shipped 2,783 BMW i8s from the plant last year.
But as previously mentioned, the new battery facility stole the show.
Earlier this year, BMW started a new program to use old BMW i3 battery packs
to power large energy storage systems. They opened their first facility with
Vattenfall in the Netherlands earlier this year.
Now the new system called ‘ the BMW Battery Storage Farm Leipzig’ is linked
to both local renewable energy production and the grid in order to stabilize
power and offer backup.
The system can fit 700 battery packs, but 500 packs are currently installed.
Right now, it’s a mix of used and new packs as most BMW i3 packs are still
in used considering the vehicle is just a few years old at this point.
They plan to add used battery packs as they become available.
Joachim Kolling, Head of Energy Services at the BMW Group, commented on the
“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. We are demonstrating once again that the concept of
sustainability at BMW i goes far beyond the car.”
The “battery storage farm” project is interesting and I think we are going
to start seeing more of those. Just earlier this week we reported on
Mercedes-Benz building an impressive energy storage facility using electric
Smart car battery packs.
As for the 100,000th i3 milestone, it’s definitely an achievement for BMW’s
first significant electric vehicle program, but Krüger’s talk of EV
leadership makes me uneasy.
If BMW ever had EV leadership, it lost it. The BMW i3 feels lonely as an EV
program at the German automaker.
They unveiled the 2018 version this summer with little to no upgrade other
than a new sports package. Then there’s the new i8 Roadster, which isn’t
likely to do much better than its predecessor and it’s barely an EV anyway.
Yet the CEO says that the plug-in hybrid will “expand our leading position
in the field of electro-mobility.” That’s the current state of BMW’s EV
programs. Not much leadership here.
But at least they gave us something to look forward to. Last month, BMW
seriously updated its EV plans with 12 all-electric cars by 2025.
The first one is expected to be the long-overdue all-electric Mini, which
BMW says is coming in 2019. At that point, we should have a much better idea
of just how serious BMW is about EVs.
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