BMW announces production plans for Megacity vehicle

BMW announces production plans for Megacity vehicle

The BMW Group is expanding its plant in Leipzig (150km southwest of Berlin) to make it the first location in Germany equipped to handle the large-scale production of zero-emission electric cars.

In the period up to 2013, around €400 million will be invested at the plant in new buildings and machinery for the production of the Megacity Vehicle (MCV) and some 800 jobs will be created in the process.

The plant expansion was launched on Friday by German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel and Dr Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, together with the Prime Minister of the German state of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich, and the Governor of Washington state in the US, Chris Gregoire.

“By producing the Megacity Vehicle in Germany the BMW Group is demonstrating a clear commitment to Germany as a high-tech location. With this vehicle we are revolutionising automotive design and production, and offering our customers the first purpose-built electric vehicle for urban areas. This will be the world’s first volume-produced car with a passenger compartment made from lightweight CFRP, as less weight enables a longer range,” explained Reithofer.

“We made a conscious decision to produce the car in Germany, at our plant in Leipzig — our newest and most cutting-edge facility with the most flexible structures,” he added.

The Megacity electric vehicle will have its body panels formed from carbon fiber, but also its structure. The Megacity will become the first high volume vehicle with this type of construction. Previously, carbon fibre structures have been limited to race cars and supercars like the McLaren F1 and the new MP4-12c.

Including production of components, the BMW Group and the joint venture set up with the SGL Group for the manufacture of carbon fibres are investing a total of €530 million in the project.

The beneficiaries of this investment are the BMW plants in Leipzig and Landshut and the joint venture facilities in Wackersdorf and Moses Lake (Washington state, USA). A total of over 1,000 jobs will be created as a result of the investment. The BMW plant in Dingolfing will produce important components for the drive system and chassis of the MCV.

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