China becomes the home of electric cars

BMW, Great Wall to build new China plant for electric cars (160K p.y.), after VW (600K p.y.) and Tesla (500К p.y.) did it

BMW X3 xDrive30e debut at LA AUTO SHOW (Nov 22 – Dec 1, 2019)

Nov 28, 2019 (Reuters) – BMW (BMWG.DE) and its partner Great Wall Motor (601633.SS) said they plan to build a plant in China with a capacity of 160,000 cars per year, and which will produce BMW’s electric MINI brand and Great Wall Motor models.

The 650 million euro ($716 million) plant is due for completion in 2022.

Automakers and suppliers are scrambling to meet tough new Chinese quotas for less polluting cars. Those rules call for electric and rechargeable hybrid vehicles to account for a fifth of total sales by 2025.

The new joint venture Spotlight Automotive, will be based in Zhangjiagang near Shanghai and eventually employ 3,000 staff.

Earlier this month, Great Wall gained domestic regulatory approval for the new plant.

Great Wall is China’s top sport utility vehicle and pick-up truck maker. It also builds Ora, an affordable battery electric vehicle brand in Baoding, the city where it is based.

BMW is following the footsteps of larger peer Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), which is readying two Chinese factories to build electric cars next year, and which will have a combined production capacity of 600,000 vehicles.

Tesla (TSLA.O) is aiming for more than 500,000 cars a year by building a new factory in Shanghai.

Tesla’s groundbreaking event for Gigafactory 3 in January 2019 showcased the company’s current lineup of vehicles and a personal appearance from CEO Elon Musk. 

Unlike Tesla’s first Gigafactory in Nevada, which produces the Model 3’s drive units and battery packs, Gigafactory 3 is set to be equipped with production lines for both batteries and electric cars. As confirmed by Elon Musk the Shanghai facility will be producing the Model 3 sedan and the Model Y SUV.

In that time Elon Musk noted on Twitter that the goal is to finish the initial construction of Gigafactory 3 summer 2019, followed by the start of Model 3 production by the end of 2019. Large-scale manufacturing of the electric sedan would begin sometime next year.