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BMW to delay own battery factory despite rising EV sales

BMW will not scale up its own battery cell production for electric cars until the technology has developed further, the automaker said, taking a more cautious approach than some rivals despite record vehicle sales in 2021. The automaker currently buys battery cells from CATL, Samsung and Northvolt among others, but is building its own pilot plant.

 

“We have secured our needs for the next few years very well with the partners we have,” finance chief Nicolas Peter said on Thursday. BMW would not rush to scale up its own cell production, Peter said. “We are not yet at the point where we can say what technology will accompany us for the next 10-15 years,” he said.

 

 

“That’s why it’s important to invest a lot of resources with worldwide partners in battery cell development.” Works council chief Manfred Schoch has pushed for BMW to ramp up battery output to secure supplies and create jobs.

 

German rivals Volkswagen and Daimler both have direct stakes in battery cell makers. Daimler, which holds 33 per cent of Automotive Cells Company, said in July it planned to build eight gigafactories to make battery cells with partners. BMW, which has kept output high amid a global chip shortage in part because of its close ties with suppliers, was also upbeat about hitting the top end of its 9.5 per cent to 10.5 per cent profit margin estimate for 2021.

 

This is slightly more cautious on margins than rivals including Daimler and Volkswagen’s Audi, which expects a 9 per cent to 11 percent margin for 2021. Still, the company said the transition to electric vehicles was moving faster than BMW had expected two to three years ago, with sales more than doubling last year and order books fuller than ever.

 

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