BMW will not manufacture EV batteries, wants to invest in partnerships
BMW stated that it will not scale its own battery cell production for electric vehicles until the technology develops further. The company is building its own pilot plant, currently avails battery cells from CATL, Samsung and Northvolt among others. With the statement, the luxury automaker displays a cautious restrain towards producing batteries for EVs compared to its competitors.
Finance Chief Nicolas Peter stated that BMW will not rush to scale up its own cell production. “We have secured our needs for the next few years very well with the partners we have," Peter added. He explained that the industry is not at a point where the company can be confident about the current technology for another 10 to 15 years. “That's why it's important to invest a lot of resources with worldwide partners in battery cell development," stated Peter. BMW is working to build battery assembly sites at every factory but will rely on partners for cells, he further added.
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Automakers such as Volkswagen and Daimler both have direct stakes in battery cell makers. The latter hold about 33 per cent of Automotive Cells Company informed in July that it has planned to build eight gigafactories to make battery cells with its partners whereas the former has aimed to establish build six cell factories in Europe by the end of the decade with partners such as China's Gotion High-Tech and Northvolt, in which it has a 20 per cent stake.
With its 2021 sales numbers, BMW has dethroned Daimler for the first time in five years as the premium car manufacturer. The Bavarian company sold 2.21 million vehicles compared to Daimler's 2.05 million vehicles last year. Daimler CEO Ola Kaellenius has stated that high deliveries were not the priority under his watch, preferring to raise prices and boost margins rather than maximise the number of vehicles sold.
BMW, which has managed to keep its output high amid the ongoing global semiconductor shortage in part because of its close ties with suppliers, is slightly more cautious on margins than its rivals including Daimler and Volkswagen's Audi, which expects a 9 per cent to 11 per cent margin for 2021.
(With inputs from Reuters)