Last October, BMW announced a major $1.7-billion E.V. investment slated for South Carolina. With $1 billion allocated for updates to support fully electric vehicle production at Plant Spartanburg, the $700-million balance would be used for construction of a nearby high-voltage battery assembly plant in Woodruff, South Carolina, aptly named “Plant Woodruff.”

About eight months after the initial announcement, BMW broke ground on the Woodruff facility on June 27th. President and CEO of BMW Manufacturing Dr. Robert Engelhorn says, “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.”

BMW’s partner AESC also broke ground this month on their new facility, which will supply Plant Woodruff with battery cells. BMW says, “As part of the BMW Group’s ‘local for local’ approach, the company will purchase battery cells for its electric vehicles from partner AESC, which is building a new 30 GWh battery cell factory in Florence, South Carolina, with BMW as its first customer. AESC broke ground for its new plant on June 7.”

As Plant Woodruff will be the latest and greatest BMW EV plant when completed, it has a few new sustainability tricks up its conduits.

  • No fossil fuels! It will use 100-percent green electricity.
  • It is “solar ready” as the structure already supports installation of solar cells in the future.
  • Smart LED lighting with occupancy sensors will reduce energy consumption for lighting.
  • Water consumption will be reduced to include rainwater being harvested and used.
  • Use of highly efficient electrical “smart” motors in the plant’s HVAC systems will reduce energy consumption by as much as 40 percent.

BMW has said that by 2030, Plant Spartanburg will build at least six fully electric BMWs. With many of the key components needed for these EVs being produced locally, they’re well on their way to achieving that goal. Perhaps the “X” outside the Plant Spatanburg’s Zentrum museum will soon be accompanied by an “i” or “e” to signify the shift towards a greener electric future. —Mike Bevels

[Title image courtesy of BMW.]



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