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Luxury car manufacturer localizes high-voltage battery production

According to a recent report, the Thailand arm of a major German multinational company, which currently produces luxury automobiles and motorcycles.

It was reported that the group has set its sights on another milestone in Thailand’s journey towards a future of electro-mobility with local high voltage battery production – which comprises production of the battery modules and the battery itself – from 2019 onward at a new production facility located in WHA Chonburi Industrial Estate 2.

The production will be done in partnership with one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers and a strong systems partner with the luxury car manufacturer since 1966, the Thailand arm is now laying a solid foundation for local battery production through advanced training and qualification programs starting September 2018.

The President of the group’s Thailand said that the group is excited to be taking another big step forward in its electro-mobility strategy. The start of local battery production will enable the company to better respond to growing demands for electrified vehicles across ASEAN markets.

Furthermore, it was noted that this new capability adds to the strengths of Plant Rayong, which has already been serving as an automotive production hub in the region. With the four plug-in hybrid models already rolling out from the company’s assembly lines at Plant Rayong, local battery production will certainly complement our production of plug-in hybrids.

Alongside the electric motor, the high-voltage battery is a central element of partially and fully-electrified vehicles and a highly sophisticated component that requires specialized skills to produce. To strengthen the foundations for high-tech assembly work, the group and its partner are engaging in an intensive cooperation to bring this advanced expertise to Thailand.

The Plant Manager of the partnering group said that working with the luxury car manufacturer is a very big honour, to produce the high voltage storage local for the manufacturer’s Thailand.

Currently, there are two of the partnering teams working hand in hand from Germany and Thailand to lead the project to a successful start of production.

Since September 2018, staff from the partnering company have been taking part in the battery production training program at the luxury car manufacturer and the pilot plant for e-drivetrains to share their expertise in cutting-edge production technologies such as laser welding, plasma activation, robotics, glueing, automated optical and electrical inline quality inspection along with end-of-line testing.

The training is also focused on supporting a highly-automated process, which is an important part of battery module production, as well as comprehensive quality assurance, product methodology and technology, rework, and analysis.

With a strong grasp of battery production skills, the staff will work on battery cells provided by suppliers in the Asian region along with other imported parts such as aluminium housing, electronics, and cables to roll out the high-voltage batteries that meet the group’s world-class standard and to meet Thailand’s local content requirement regulation.

Final batteries will then be transported to Plant Rayong for the production of the PHEVs based on the manufacturer’s 5 Series, 7 Series, and X5 in the first phase from 2019 onward.

It was noted that to ensure that the production process is in line with the group’s exceptional standards of quality, experts from the group’s Munich branch are involved.

Together, the luxury car manufacturer and its partner plan to invest over 400 million baht to establish a new beacon for e-mobility innovations in Thailand and the region.

For the Thailand branch of the group, the company’s leadership noted that the firm has already planned and approved for government’s incentives by Thailand’s Board of Investment (BoI) to further invest over 700 million baht for more BMW Plug-in Hybrid models to come.

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