Steyr Plant Readies for New Class Electric Drive Production with BMW’s Upgrades

BMW
BMW

In the upcoming months, around 300 machines and production systems are set to be installed to facilitate the pre-series production scheduled to commence in July this year, according to BMW’s recent announcement. The BMW Group is allocating approximately one billion euros for investments in electric drives at the Steyr location by 2030. The Steyr plant is geared to produce over 600,000 electric drives annually, running parallel to the production of diesel and gasoline engines.

In June 2022, the company’s management decided that the sixth generation of BMW electric drives would be produced in Steyr. Subsequently, in December 2022, preparations began to equip the engine factories for electric drives, involving the conversion of existing production areas and the establishment of new spaces.

Two newly completed structures, a two-story production hall, and a logistics hall, will house two assembly lines for electric drives, incorporating transmission components and power electronics. The sixth generation electric drives will see the consolidation of most drive components at the Steyr location, including the housing, rotor, stator, gearbox, and inverter.

BMW plans to use these drives in the New Class vehicles, scheduled for production in Debrecen from 2025 and Munich from 2026. The Steyr factory will continue to supply housings for the fifth generation of electric drives used in current electric models, with assembly taking place in BMW’s own electric drive production facility in Dingolfing.

With production continuing in parallel for a few more years, Steyr will also manufacture housings for Dingolfing. In Bavaria, BMW has the capacity to produce over 500,000 electric drives annually, complemented by an additional 600,000 units from Steyr.

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Helmut Hochsteiner, Head of the Electric Drive Machines Division at the BMW Group site in Steyr, emphasizes the progress of the production facility for New Class electric drives, stating, “Now it’s time for the next important section. And this is no less ambitious than the construction of the halls themselves.”

The installation of 300 production machines poses a challenge, with numerous custom-made machines requiring unique setup experiences, as well as more standardized processes for other production robots. The machines range from small single units to larger stations like a 30-meter-long gearbox wedding station, where robots collaborate to install gearboxes in the main engine.

A new system has been operational in the production hall since January, featuring a floor jack that transports power electronics components from the first floor to the ground floor. This process is crucial as the inverters are installed in the clean room on the first floor. After transportation, the inverters undergo final assembly with the electric drive machine on the ground floor.

The Steyr plant, managed by Klaus von Moltke, who also oversees global engine production at BMW AG, will witness investments exceeding 500 million euros in machines and systems for electric drive production. Von Moltke emphasizes BMW’s commitment to the location, stating, “The start of series production for the New Class drives is planned for autumn 2025.”

As part of the drive production re-planning for an electric future, BMW ceased combustion engine production at its main plant in Munich. Combustion engines are still produced in Steyr and Hams Hall, while electric machines are manufactured in Steyr and Dingolfing.

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