BMW has announced that it has started production of its all-electric i4 model at its plant in Munich. The next-generation SUV is set to hit the market sometime in the spring of next year. The Munich plant is where the multinational automaker makes several models, including the combustion-powered and plug-in hybrid BMW 3 Series, BMW M3 and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. BMW said at least half of all cars coming out of the plant by 2023 will be electric vehicles.
Production of different models at the same plant – which is almost 100 years old – presents its own difficulties. This requires flexibility and a great deal of integration into existing production structures. Its price is around 200 million euros (about Rs 1,747 crore) of BMW.
Peter Weber, director of BMW’s Munich plant, said, “Setting up production of a fully electric BMW i4 within the confines of the nearly 100-year-old plant, the conversion and installation of the system proved particularly challenging.”
“Our Bodyshop is a shining example of intelligent, efficient integration. Most of the new production processes for the BMW i4 can be done on existing Bodyshop systems.
However, BMW says the i4’s architecture systems are 90 percent identical compared to conventional ones, except for the electric drive and high-voltage battery. The battery pack is now bolted to the body by a new, fully automated battery assembly system, which is equipped with high-resolution cameras to ensure there are no impurities that could cause damage.
“For the plant and the team, the launch of the BMW i4 is a milestone on the road to electric mobility. By 2023 more than half of the vehicles at our Munich facility will have electrified drive. The majority will be completely electric. Therefore, Munich goes completely electric, ”said BMW Production Board member Milan Nedeljkovic.
The BMW website states that the i4 is equipped with a new flexible fast charger. “This portable device, compatible with any 120V or 240V outlet, provides optimized charging wherever you go. Charge 0-100 percent in less than 9 hours on a 240V outlet.”
In the US, the BMW i4 will be available at a starting price of $56,395 (approximately Rs 42.32 lakh) and is expected to have an EPA range of 300 miles (482km).