German chancellor Angela Merkle and BMW chairman Norbert Reithofer at the ceremony in Leipzig

German chancellor Angela Merkle and BMW chairman Norbert Reithofer at the ceremony in Leipzig

BMW Group has officially begun expansion of its assembly plant in Leipzig to make it the first location in Germany equipped to handle the large-scale production of zero-emission electric cars.

From now to 2013, around EUR400m will be spent on new buildings and machinery for the production of the Megacity Vehicle (MCV), adding about 800 jobs in the process.

“By producing the Megacity Vehicle in Germany the BMW Group is demonstrating a clear commitment to Germany as a high-tech location. With this vehicle we are revolutionising automotive design and production, and offering our customers the first purpose-built electric vehicle for urban areas. This will be the world’s first volume-produced car with a passenger compartment made from lightweight CFRP, as less weight enables a longer range,” said BMW chairman Norbert Reithofer at an event at the plant on Friday (5 November).  “We made a conscious decision to produce the car in Germany, at our plant in Leipzig – our newest and most cutting-edge facility with the most flexible structures,” he added.

Including production of components, BMW and the joint venture set up with the SGL Group for the manufacture of carbon fibres are investing EUR530m in the project. Other facilities to see investment are the BMW plant at Landshut and joint venture factories in Wackersdorf and Moses Lake (Washington, US). A total of over 1,000 jobs will be created as a result of the investment. The BMW plant in Dingolfing will produce drive system components and chassis for the MCV.

The first ActiveE – based on the BMW 1 Series coupé – will roll off the production line at Leipzig plant in 2011. This vehicle represents the BMW Group’s second step, after the Mini E, towards putting an emission-free electric vehicle into series production. Knowledge gained will be used to develop the MCV.

"rom 2011, Leipzig will be a centre of expertise for the production of electric cars within the BMW Group’s worldwide network," the automaker said.

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