First all-electric i4s leave BMW’s Munich production line

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According to BMW, the first series-produced i4 has rolled off the production lines at the company’s Munich plant. “For the plant and team, the launch of the BMW i4 is a milestone on the road to electric mobility,” said Milan Nedeljković, BMW AG board member for production. “By 2023, more than half of all vehicles from our Munich facility will have an electrified drive. The majority will be fully electric. So Munich goes fully electric.”

According to the company, setting up production of the fully electric BMW i4 in the confines of the almost 100-year-old plant meant that the conversion and installation of systems proved particularly challenging. “We succeeded in integrating the new vehicle into our existing systems without halting production. The team and our partners did an amazing job,” said Peter Weber, director of BMW Group Plant Munich. Space constraints notwithstanding, existing systems were removed, and new ones installed and ramped up.

One particularly complex topic was the integration into assembly of the high-voltage battery. The battery pack is now bolted onto the body by a new, fully automated battery assembly system that works from below. Fully automated, high-resolution camera systems scan it thoroughly beforehand to ensure the surface is absolutely clean, with no impurities that could cause damage.

The integration of the BMW i4 into existing production structures required an investment of €200m (US$232.5m). BMW notes that the i4 is an important trailblazer for its ‘Neue Klasse’ vehicles, due for rollout around the middle of this decade, and designed purely for electric powertrains. By the end of this year, four-cylinder engine production will have relocated to Hams Hall, UK, and Steyr, Austria. The complete relocation of engine production from Munich will be completed by 2024 at the latest.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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