German automaker BMW is ready to begin producing its fully-electric i4 after weeks of intensive conversion work at its Munich plant.
After six weeks of restructuring and investing €200 million, BMW’s Munich Plant is finally ready to start mass-producing the i4.
“We have completed the comprehensive restructuring and conversion of the plant successfully, on schedule, and without complications. Our plant can now manufacture the fully electric BMW i4 on the same line as diesel-, petrol- and hybrid-powered vehicles,” Robert Engelhorn, Plant Director of BMW, said.
The Bavarian plant was already being used to build and assemble petrol and diesel vehicles for BMW. Around €700 million (or roughly $900 million) was invested between 2015 and 2018 to install a new paint shop and extend the body shop for the production of the popular BMW 3 series.
Before conversion work for the i4 began, renovation and installation work was somewhat tricky as workers had to deal with the limited space within the production hall. BMW devised a new method to utilize the limited space available in the plant. Judicious planning methods included digital tools and virtual reality simulating section lines separating system design and production units.
As impressive as it sounds, the new converted plant is futuristic in itself. The German automaker has installed top of the line advanced driver assistance testing features.
The plant digitally handles its logistics and testing processes using a myriad of interconnected smart systems. Needless to say, the assembly line is also highly automated. Even the battery pack is transported to the assembly line automatically.
A fully automated battery assembly system with its intricate network of cameras and sensors will make sure that the 550-kilogram battery pack is fitted to the car properly. Other methods were also installed for the floor assembly and powertrain installation of the i4.
Understandably, BMW takes immense pride in designing such a smart, efficient, and advanced plant to assemble cars of the future.
According to the automaker, the i4 is expected to make 530 horsepower, which is quite impressive for a sedan. A standard version of the vehicle will come with a 372-mile range and an 80 kWh battery pack. It will also come with a 150-kilowatt charging capacity that will charge the car up to 80 percent in just 35 minutes.
Even though a production version will not be available until 2021, it is expected that the price will start somewhere near $50,000.