BMW breaks ground on new US battery facility, furthering South Carolina as its new EV hub

BMW Group moves one step closer to enabling US EV production while simultaneously helping promote the state of South Carolina as a new hub for battery and vehicle manufacturing. The Plant Woodruff facility, announced last fall, is officially under construction and will eventually complement new and existing factories operated by BMW and AESC in The Palmetto State.

BMW Group is a well established German automaker known for combining sport and luxury in its vehicles, but it hasn’t been until recently that a new range of all-electric models has emerged. As the lineup of BEVs grows through BMW’s vow to eventually go all-electric, we are still seeing these models built overseas and shipped to the US.

As a result, only one electrified BMW qualifies for federal tax credits in the US under revised terms established in the Inflation Reduction Act signed last summer – the 2024 X5 plug-in hybrid. To once again deliver compliant vehicles, BMW Group chair Oliver Zipse announced a new $1.7 billion investment into US operations last October. Those plans include $1 billion allocated to converting the automaker’s existing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, to enable BEV production.

Additionally, BMW Group committed another $700 million toward erecting a new high-voltage EV battery facility in Woodruff, South Carolina, where the automaker plans to produce its sixth-generation batteries to EVs in its pipeline at Spartanburg about 20 miles up the road.

Today, BMW shared it has broken ground on its latest facility in South Carolina as its growing US EV hub.

BMW and AESC to provide batteries to South Carolina EVs

According to BMW Group, construction of the new high-voltage battery plant is officially underway, paving the way for over 300 new jobs in South Carolina with room for growth as it currently sits atop 315 acres. When complete, the facility will be over one million square feet in size, complete with its own technology building, fire department, and energy center.

Additionally, Woodruff will be operated without fossil fuels and will, instead, utilize 100% green electricity and will be constructed to be “solar ready.”

The 300 new EV associates will be trained nearby at BMW’s Technical Training Center (TTC), which opened at the Spartanburg facility this past October. The automaker states the TTC will soon become its epicenter for the EV training of all employees in both North and South America. BMW’s member of the board of management, responsible for human resources and real estate, Ilka Horstmeier, spoke:

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 will fit into a “local for local” business strategy BMW is implementing in the US, which includes newly developed round lithium-ion battery cells that will be produced by partner AESC. The battery manufacturer broke ground of its own at a new site in Florence, South Carolina, on June 7.

When both battery facilities are complete, AESC will ship cells produced in Florence to Woodruff, South Carolina, where BMW will use them to manufacture its sixth-generation modules that will be used to power future all-electric X models built in Spartanburg.

Currently, BMW only builds three EVs in Spartanburg, all of which are plug-ins: the X3 xDrive30e, X5 xDrive50e, and the XM. However, BMW states at least six fully-electric models will be produced in Spartanburg, South Carolina, by 2030. BMW’s president and CEO of manufacturing, Dr. Robert Engelhorn, also spoke:

Today’s groundbreaking is the start of a new era at Plant Spartanburg as we prepare to produce fully electric BMW X models for the world. The road to the future begins here in Woodruff as we build on our legacy of producing high-quality vehicles right here in the U.S. Plant Woodruff will be state-of-the-art in terms of sustainability, flexibility, and digitalization.

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