The company produces multiple models at the site, including also combustion-powered and plug-in hybrid BMW 3 Series Sedan and Touring, the BMW M3 and the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.
The production of all drive variants on a single assembly line at the almost 100-year-old plant requires a lot of flexibility and integration into existing production structures that come at a bill of €200 million. That was BMW Group's approach and only time will tell how it will pay off in the long run.
For now, the company admits that it was challenging:
"Setting up production of the fully electric BMW i4 in the confines of the almost 100-year-old plant, 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,” added Peter Weber, Director of BMW Group Plant Munich. Space constraints notwithstanding, existing systems were removed, and new ones installed and ramped up. “Our bodyshop is a shining example of intelligent, efficient integration. Most of the new production processes for the BMW i4 can be carried out on the existing bodyshop systems,”"
BMW explains that the main difference between the BMW i4 and conventional architectures is the electric drive and high-voltage battery, while 90% of existing systems are common.
"About 90 percent of the existing systems in the Munich bodyshop can still be used for the new model. Additional ones were required only for the floor assembly and rear end."
"Another highly 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 and there are no impurities that could cause damage."
According to the manufacturer, by 2023, at least half of all cars from the Munich plant will be electrified.
Milan Nedeljković, BMW AG Board Member for Production said:
“For the plant and team, the launch of the BMW i4 is a milestone on the road to electric mobility. 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.”
Gallery: BMW i4 Production At BMW Group Plant Munich
In the U.S. the BMW i4 will start at $56,395 and is expected to offer up to 300 miles of EPA range (the WLTP rating is 590 km/367 miles).