BMW announced plans to invest CNY10bn (US$1.4bn) to expand its electric vehicle (EV) battery production capacity in Shenyang in China’s Liaoning province.

The German automaker will carry out the investment through its 75%-owned BMW Brilliance Automobile (BBA) joint venture, as it looks to speed up its transition to zero-emission vehicles. No details of the company’s battery production capacity in Shenyang were released, but its facilities mainly assemble cells purchased from outside suppliers into complete battery packs.

In September BMW signed a multi-year agreement to source cylindrical battery cells from China’s largest battery manufacturer, Contemporary Amperex Technology Company Limited (CATL), to power a new generation of EVs from in 2025. This followed a similar multi-year deal to source batteries from China’s EVE Energy Company Ltd in Europe.

EVs have led the Chinese vehicle market’s recovery from the Covid pandemic, with sales forecast to exceed five million units this year – with plug-in hybrids expected to account for a further 1.4 million units.

BMW Group Region China’s CEO , Jochen Goller, said the investment “is the latest demonstration of BMW’s confidence in the Chinese market and its commitment to promoting cooperation between the two countries”.

China is BMW’s largest single market globally, with total sales (including imports) estimated at around 475,000 vehicles in the first nine months of 2022. Earlier this year BMW Brilliance completed the expansion of its Dadong vehicle plant and finished construction of the new Lydia assembly plant, both located in the city of Shenyang.