BMW Brilliance Automotive's (BBA) joint venture is expanding its Chinese battery factory.

With the High-Voltage Battery Centre Phase II, BBA will produce the new, more powerful batteries of the fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology for the fully-electric BMW iX3. Starting in 2020, the BMW iX3 will be built at the neighbouring BBA plant in Dadong.

"Today, we break ground for the next stage of our electric model offensive," said BMW production board member, Oliver Zipse.

"In this regard, we further increase the capacity of our local battery production. This enables us to follow the increasing demand for electro mobility in China."

China is the BMW Group's largest single market and offers six electrified models currently available.

In 2017 the BMW Group more than doubled its sales of electrified vehicles in China from the previous year and the automaker expects this growth to continue in 2018.

Earlier this year, production of the new BMW 5 Series Plug-in Hybrid started at the BBA plant Dadong.

The company's Leipzig plant began building the fully-electric BMW i3 in 2013. Today, the BMW Group produces cars with combustion engines on the same lines as plug-in hybrids at ten locations worldwide.

Three battery plants in Germany, the US and China supply local production of electrified vehicles with batteries. In the future, production of fully-electric vehicles will also be integrated into existing manufacturing structures.

"Maximum utilisation of plant capacity is a priority for us," added Zipse. "That is why we are designing our production system so we can build models with a fully or partially electric drive train or combustion engine on the same assembly line."

In addition, two enhanced flexible vehicle architectures will be suitable for all drive forms, thereby reducing complexity in production.

The BBA Brilliance Automotive joint venture was founded in 2003. In 2017, the BBA automotive plants in Tiexi and Dadong produced almost 400,000 vehicles for the Chinese market; an increase of around 30% year-on-year.

The maximum capacity of the two plants will reach 520,000 units per year from 2019.

Since 2009, the joint venture has invested more than 52 billion RMB (US$7.7bn ) in the BBA plants and employs more than 16,000 people.

In 2014, the BMW Group and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings extended their joint venture contract. The extended contract is valid for ten years (from 2018 to 2028).

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