BMW announced today that it is going to shut down its Munich factory for over a month in order to prepare for the production of its next electric car, the BMW i4.

It’s not uncommon for automakers to have scheduled production shutdowns in order to upgrade manufacturing lines, but this announcement from BMW today was surprising due to its length.

“In preparation for production of the fully-electric BMW i4, BMW Group Plant Munich will pause vehicle production for six weeks this summer. No cars will be produced between the end of the late shift on 23 July and the start of the early shift on 7 September. Plant Munich will take advantage of this break in production to implement numerous structural and remodelling measures before the fully-electric BMW i4 goes into standard production next year.”

The Munich factory is where BMW currently produces the 3 Series and it employs 7,800 people.

Shutting down the plant for 6 weeks is going to have a major impact on the automaker’s inventory.

The BMW i4 is built on BMW’s upcoming fifth-generation electric powertrain. The technology is supposed to enable BMW to produce all-electric, hybrid, and diesel/petrol cars all on the same production line.

Plant director Robert Engelhorn commented on the remodel in Munich:

“We are gearing up our Munich plant for the future. Once remodelling is finished, we will be able to produce vehicles with diesel, petrol and hybrid drive trains, as well as the fully-electric BMW i4, all on the same line. This will allow us to respond flexibly to customer demand.”

The director says that it is going to be challenging:

 “Confined structures make any remodelling and installation measures at Plant Munich particularly challenging. Old systems have to be removed, and new ones installed and put into service, in very tight spaces within six weeks. This takes meticulous planning and a lot of creativity,”

The BMW i4 was unveiled earlier this year ahead of the start of production next year.

BMW claims that the electric sedan is going to be able to achieve a range of 600 km (373 miles) on an 80kWh battery. They are talking about the range based on the WLTP, and the real-world range is likely going to be close to 300-320 miles on a single charge.

The automaker says that “the electric motor developed for the BMW i4 delivers a maximum output of around 390kW/530hp.”

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