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AESC raises the stakes on BMW battery cell production in the USA

According to the South Carolina Department of Commerce, AESC is increasing its investment by a further 810 million to 1.62 billion dollars to expand production capacity at the plant under construction in Florence County. Exactly how much capacity is not mentioned.

AESC initially laid out the factory for 30-gigawatt hours and expects the plant to come on stream in 2026. As part of the expansion, the company says it will create 1,620 jobs instead of the planned 1,170 – recruitment is ongoing.

The factory in Florence County slated for expansion today is one of three battery plants the Japanese firm is running in the US. Therefore, the final production capacity will exceed the previously planned 70 GWh, including the existing battery manufacturing facility in Tennessee (near the Nissan plant there) and a factory under construction in Kentucky (for the Mercedes plant in Tuscaloosa, among others).

As for BMW, AESC reportedly has a contract to supply battery cells for next-gen electric vehicle models, which the German carmaker will produce at Plant Spartanburg in Greer, South Carolina. It is BMW’s only US factory and is scheduled to make at least six all-electric X series models by 2030.

The carmaker has reportedly begun construction of a new assembly plant in Woodruff, South Carolina, where sixth-generation batteries will be assembled for the nearby Spartanburg plant.

Envision AESC is one of three battery partners for BMW’s New Class cars, along with Chinese manufacturers CATL and Eve Energy.

AESC (formerly Envision AESC) added today the round battery format would result in 20% more energy density than the current generation, reduce charging time, and increase range and efficiency for electric vehicles by 30%. 

BMW round cells will have a uniform diameter of 46 millimetres and two different heights to be “flexibly integrated into the installation space”. The battery packing takes on a supporting role in the body structure. In technical jargon, this battery concept is called “pack-to-open-body”. It is also known that New Class vehicles will use an 800-volt system with up to 350 kW charging power.

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