Munich (dpa) – Three months after the electric SUV iX, BMW has also started series production of the fully electric BMW i4. The first vehicle rolled off the assembly line at the main plant. “We’re getting into the niche that Tesla also serves with its range,” says Production Director Milan Nedeljković. Diesel and hybrid drive. The vehicles differ mainly in their electric drive and battery. In the body shop, 90 percent of the existing production facilities are also used for the i4.
The 3-series BMW is the Group’s highest-volume model . This year, until the end of September, BMW has around 390. 000 cars of the 3 series and the 4 series derived from it sold. Tesla is targeting the same buyer groups with its fully electric Model 3 and has around 614. 000 of these cars and the Model Y derived from them. With a “Tesla Fighter”, automakers want to compete with the industry pioneer Tesla in the market for e-cars.
New model enjoys “a certain priority”
“The start-up of the BMW i4 is a milestone for this plant and its team on the way to e-mobility, ”said Nedeljković. «Ab 2023 has more than half of all vehicles from Munich an electrified drive. Most of it will be fully electric. ” He did not give any more precise information on the targeted sales figures for the i4.
Because of the bottlenecks in the semiconductor supply, BMW expects this year to be approximately 80. 000 To be able to sell less cars than demanded. But the i4 enjoys “a certain priority” in the group when it comes to semiconductor supply, emphasized the Munich plant manager Peter Weber.
So far, around 7000 employees in Munich build around 1000 3 and 4 series cars and 2000 gasoline and diesel engines. But at the end of the year production of the four-cylinder engines was relocated to Hams-Hall in England and Steyr in Austria. The number of employees in engine construction in Munich has already decreased from 400 to 1000. The relocation of the Munich engine manufacturing facility should be completed by 2024 at the latest.
“We have managed to integrate the vehicle into our existing production system during ongoing production,” said Plant manager Weber. The conversion cost 200 million euros.
Competitor Tesla in view
«We’ll be more 400 Invest millions, around the middle of the 20 years here the “new “To be able to produce is great,” said Nedeljković. The next generation of vehicles, the “New Class”, is geared towards electric drives. The construction of these vehicles with a new platform, new batteries and new software is to start 2025 in the planned BMW plant in Hungary and then be rolled out to all plants and model classes. 2030 BMW wants to sell around three million cars, half of them fully electric. The discontinuation of the i3 electrical pioneer, which has been built in Leipzig since 2012 «is not an issue for us», said the production director, referring to the continued good demand.
With regard to the body shop at Tesla, Nedeljković said: “We don’t go into such large aluminum parts.” When it comes to the body, high strength, minimal weight and a good price are decisive for BMW.