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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: BMW Making Moves in South Carolina

Oct 20, 2022 01:16PM ● By David Dykes

BMW Announces $1.7 Billion to Build Electric Vehicles in South Carolina

By Donna Isbell Walker and David Dykes

The BMW Group continued the roll-out of its electromobility plan with a new investment in the U.S. to expand Plant Spartanburg and the company’s manufacturing footprint in the U.S.

BMW Group Chairman of the Board of Management, Oliver Zipse, announced Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, a $1.7 billion investment in its U.S. operations, including $1 billion to prepare for the production of electric vehicles at the company’s existing U.S. manufacturing facility in South Carolina, and $700 million to build a new high-voltage battery assembly facility in nearby Woodruff, S.C.

By 2030 BMW Group will build at least six fully electric models in the U.S. Zipse was joined at Plant Spartanburg by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Secretary of Commerce Harry Lightsey III, Chairman of Spartanburg County Council Economic Development Committee David Britt, and Woodruff Mayor Kenny Gist as he also announced an agreement to source next-generation lithium-ion battery cells from Envision AESC, which will build a new plant in the state.

“For decades, Plant Spartanburg has been a cornerstone of the global success of the BMW Group. The home of the BMW X models that are so popular all over the world. Going forward, it will also be a major driver for our electrification strategy, and we will produce at least six fully electric BMW X models here by 2030. That means: The ‘Home of the X’ is also becoming the ‘Home of the Battery Electric Vehicle’,” Zipse said.

“In addition, we can showcase BMW Group’s ‘local for local’ principle: Our newly developed sixth generation battery cells, which were specifically designed for the next generation electric vehicles, will be sourced here in South Carolina – where X goes electric.”

In line with the principle of “local for local,” the BMW Group said it aims to purchase battery cells for its electric vehicles where production takes place. The company said it has found a partner in Envision AESC, which will build a new battery cell factory in South Carolina, to supply Plant Spartanburg.

Envision will produce newly developed round lithium-ion battery cells, which were specifically designed for the sixth generation of BMW eDrive technology, and will be used in the next generation electric vehicles. The annual capacity of the battery cell factory will be up to 30 GWh.

BMW officials said the new battery format will increase energy density by more than 20 percent, improve charging speed by up to 30 percent and enhance range by up to 30 percent. At the same time, CO2 emissions from cell production will be reduced by up to 60 percent through the partial use of secondary lithium, cobalt and nickel material, as well as renewable energy for production, the officials said.

They added the cooperation with Envision AESC is an important step in the BMW Group's plan to strengthen its regional supply chains. The expansion of electric vehicle production in combination with a local battery cell factory will lead to the creation of new supply chains, new networks for sub-suppliers, and new jobs throughout the entire region, the officials said.

BMW Group has announced that four additional battery cell factories will be built in Europe and China to meet its demand for next-generation battery cells. The cell factories are being built by partners and will each have an annual capacity of up to 20 GWh.

Of the new $1.7 billion investment announced Oct. 19, $700 million will be used to build a new high-voltage BMW battery assembly center in Woodruff. The 1 million square-foot facility will produce next-generation batteries for fully electric vehicles.

More than 300 new jobs will be created on site, company officials said. Plant Spartanburg currently produces lithium-ion battery modules for the two plug-in hybrid electric vehicles built at the plant, the BMW X3 xDrive30e and BMW X5 xDrive45e.

In 2021, nearly 70,000 electrified BMWs were built on site. The site in Woodruff will also leverage the experience and expertise developed in Plant Spartanburg’s existing operations at the new facility, company officials said.

“BMW’s sustained and impactful presence in South Carolina demonstrates the power of partnership and shared commitment to our state’s automotive industry success,” McMaster said.

“With today’s announcement of a $1 billion expansion to Plant Spartanburg for manufacturing electric vehicles as well as $700 million for a new plant in Woodruff to assemble battery units, the road to the future is here. And I applaud BMW on helping lead the way.”

Plant Spartanburg was established 30 years ago and began producing vehicles two years later. Since then, the plant has become the global center of competence for BMW Sports Activity Vehicles and a critical component of the company’s global production network.

The plant represents an investment of nearly $12 billion, employs more than 11,000, and has an annual capacity of up to 450,000 vehicles.

Cottontown Art Crawl Accepting Applications

The 2023 Cottontown Art Crawl is now accepting applications from artists. 

The historic Cottontown neighborhood in downtown Columbia will host its fifth annual Art Crawl on March 11, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The rain date is March 12.

All artists who wish to participate (including previous CAC participants and artists who reside in Cottontown) must complete the application by Nov. 18. Selected artists will be notified Jan. 1, and there is no fee to participate.

Each year the CAC neighborhood committee welcomes scores of artists and thousands of visitors to this event.

Link to apply:

Poll Puts Rap at Top of the Charts for S.C. Music Fans

South Carolina’s favorite musical genre is rap, according to a recent poll by Wisevoter, a bipartisan educational platform.

Rap was the top choice of 23 states in the Wisevoter poll, followed closely by country music, which was No. 1 in 22 states. Rock music topped the poll in five states.

Rounding out the Palmetto State’s top five were country, rock, hip hop, and R&B.

Governor’s School Accepting Applications for 2023 School Year, Summer Programs

The South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, a public, residential high school for artistically talented students, is now accepting applications for the 2023-2024 school year and arts-immersive, overnight summer programs.

All South Carolina residents in grades 6-11 are eligible to apply online at 

Students who enjoy creative writing, drama, music and visual arts can explore their interests in the one-week Arts Odyssey program for current seventh- and eighth-graders.

The Arts Odyssey music program is offering new specialty sessions including Ensemble Immersion workshops, Solo Intensives, Jazz Improvisation and Songwriting and Composition. Current ninth-grade students who desire a more intensive, pre-professional experience can attend the two-week Academy program.

This summer, the Governor’s School is also offering a new two-week program, Introduction to Filmmaking, for seventh- and eighth-grade students with an interest in screenwriting and film production.

Students interested in dance can attend the two-week Dance Immersion program or the five-week Summer Dance intensive program.  

In the tuition-free Residential High School, students receive pre-professional training in creative writing, dance, drama, music and visual arts. They explore and refine their talents in an arts-centered community while receiving a high school education.

The high school serves juniors and seniors, who apply in the 10th grade. The music and dance programs also accept sophomores who apply in the ninth grade.

Interested students can apply online at The priority deadline for Arts Odyssey, Dance Immersion and Introduction to Filmmaking is December 19, 2022.

The priority deadline for Academy, Summer Dance and the Residential High School is January 13, 2023. Applications will still be received after these deadlines until all openings are filled.

The Governor’s School invites interested families to come to campus in downtown Greenville for Go Govie! Day on Nov. 5 to learn more about their programs and explore the specialized arts studios, state-of-the-art performance halls, world-class library and dedicated rehearsal spaces. Register at

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