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BMW Opens Battery Storage Farm in Leipzig, Germany

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【Summary】The facility will allow the business to tap into second-life solutions for BMW i3 power cells that no longer meet its performance standards. At the moment, the Leipzig battery farm is capable of housing up to 700 i3 power cells.

Michael Cheng    Oct 31, 2017 1:25 PM PT
BMW Opens Battery Storage Farm in Leipzig, Germany

Due to the application of batteries in EV manufacturing, automakers must proactively implement sustainable practices to reduce waste and improve battery lifecycles. BMW, a leader in the nascent EV space, is taking large steps toward such benefits, with the establishment of the BMW Plant Leipzig in Germany.

The battery storage farm will allow the business to tap into second-life solutions for BMW i3 power cells that no longer meet its performance standards. Inside the plant, engineers revive the batteries by grouping them together and connecting the units to the establishment's wind turbines. This innovative process allows the automaker to leverage power from its own batteries for the production of new i3 EVs.

Read on to learn more about BMW's mission to make the i3 one of the greenest EVs available in the market today.

Leipzig Battery Farm

At the moment, the Leipzig battery farm is capable of housing up to 700 i3 power cells. The units are neatly stored on massive racks for real-time access and maintenance. The batteries are connected to the local grid, which allows BMW to sell excess power to participating energy companies. The farm has the capacity to power a whopping 50,000+ residential establishments per month. Moreover, the power cells are connected to four large wind turbines, which are utilized to store generated power for a later time.

"The capacity of 700 high-voltage batteries is the equivalent of an electric range of 100,000 km [62k miles] in a BMW i3," said Joachim Kolling, Head of Energy Services at the BMW Group. "The scalable approach means that the storage unit could be further expanded to accommodate more batteries. It is also already compatible with upcoming battery generations and therefore future-proof."

For the BMW 5 Series plug-in hybrid (the company's first EV for the Chinese market), the automaker will be producing battery components at its tenth assembly plant in Shenyang, China. The facility was established through the BMW Brilliance Automotive Joint Venture. Power cells manufactured in the building will be installed in BMW 5 Series plug-in hybrid cars by operators in the Dadong plant.

BMW's i3 Battery Warranty

BMW's i3 power cell warranty provides more information about its battery lifecycle and performance. Specifically, the details of the warranty suggest the units should be able to retain up to 70 percent of its capacity for eight years. Outside of this performance threshold, the automaker is willing to replace the power cell for a new one.

"We are proud of the 100,000th BMW i3 built by our plant in Leipzig. The BMW i3 is the original, a true technological pioneer. With BMW i as our spearhead, we intend to remain the leading premium supplier of electro-mobility going forward," explained Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW.

Although capable of accommodating 700 i3 batteries, only 500 power cells can currently be found in the battery farm. This is because most of the i3s on the road today are still using their original power cells (the model is only four years old). 

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