BMW works council chief demands battery production at every location

BMW works council chief demands battery production at every location-chief

Manfred Schoch has been with BMW for over 30 years. He has headed the general works council since 1987 and has something of a legend status in the company. Before he retires in 2022, he told the CEOs a few things in an interview for Automobilwoche.

He has been demanding for a long time that BMW should manufacture the battery cells for the e-models itself in Germany. For many years, this demand fell on deaf ears on the board, because it was not assumed that battery cells would ever be manufactured in Europe. Today we know better, battery factories are springing up “like mushrooms out of the forest floor” in Germany as well, as Schoch notes with satisfaction. However, the added value currently lies with the suppliers. Draxlmeier produces 800V batteries for the Porsche Taycan in Leipzig, while the BMZ Group’s production plant is in Lower Franconia. Farasis will produce in Bitterfeld from 2022, CATL in Erfurt. The wholly-owned Mercedes-Benz subsidiary Accumotive in Kamenz, Saxony, is gradually increasing its production capacities and volumes. The annual production volume for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and purely electric vehicles is already over half a million.

BMW has previously cooperated with SVOLT in uberherrn and only recently commissioned the mechanical engineering company Manz to set up a highly integrated production line for manufacturing batteries. Systems for coating the electrode material and assembling the lithium-ion battery cells are to be built at the BMW site in Parsdorf near Munich. However, the head of the works council, Schoch, advocates in-house battery production at every BMW production site! Preferably with cell production and assembly of the battery systems, which then go directly to vehicle assembly. That would create additional jobs, which he would naturally welcome as a works council and trade unionist.

However, Schoch is well aware of the effort involved in such a strategy. For the system in Parsdorf alone, “a whole car full of files had to be sent to the responsible district office” for the approval process, as he explains in the interview. As a result, many companies would lose interest in investing in Germany and would rather rely on global suppliers. China is pursuing a completely different industrial policy here, from which German managers could still learn something.

Sources: Automobilwoche – BMW works council chief Manfred Schoch in an interview: “Don’t end up like Merkel”//production.de – Battery production in Germany: New plants are being built here //solarserver.en – Manz is to set up production of batteries for BMW in Germany

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