BMW is working round the clock to complete its planned 25 electrified models by 2023, two years earlier than it had anticipated. Consequently, the car company is planning a $56 investment in support centers for these new models. These centers will be based in Atlanta and Spartanburg, SC., Woodcliff Lake N.J., and Ontario, Calif. The site in Atlanta is over 53,000 square feet and has cost $17 million. The Spartanburg training center is smaller, about 35,000 square meters, and worth $10 million.
Purpose of Training Centers
The main objective of investing in training centers is to train service technicians and boost its capacity by 50% while replenishing the 12,000 existing technicians who handle its BMW and Mini dealerships in the U.S.
Its electric cars will require a new level of craftsmanship. Technicians will need the training to work with electric drivetrains as well as handle the recent driver assistance technologies interactions, infotainment hardware, engine mechanics, software programming, and over the air communications.
Today, even repairing collision is becoming complicated. The reasons are that the paint that will be applied to the bumper will need careful monitoring so that it can account for cameras and sensors that are built-in that component.
The new electric vehicles have been made with lightweight materials like aluminum and carbon fiber, and the technicians need the training to understand how to work with the materials.
Its training program accommodates 8, 500 technicians every year, as it loses 1500 technicians annually due to retirement or attrition. The company is, therefore, always on the lookout for new talent. Its yearly training program for technical school graduates dubbed Service Technician Education Program helps it to recruit next-gen techs. The program began 22 years ago and has since absorbed about 4,900 students into its workforce.
Why BMW targets the expansion of EV centers
The company is making such huge investments because they expect to have high demand. It will be the demand that will be representing the level of automotive skills recruitment according to the locations distanced from manufacturing bases, research and development, and engineering industry.
Currently, there is a high demand for electric vehicles. However, due to the rise in demand, the vehicle electrification complicates the outlook. The company is targeting to have an increase in its electric vehicle sales by 30 percent every year. The sales total worldwide is targeted at 500,000 by year-end.
BMW is demanding so much on the training centers because electrification will be changing the essential skills required by the auto dealership technicians. The service required will decline because the vehicles produced will not be needing filter and oil changes, drive belt replacements, and changing radiators.
The result is that the dealership will have to train people to get technicians that can work with the vehicle computer system, advanced technicians, communication systems, and advanced sensing.
BMW company plans for accelerating electrification triggers the high investment in the U.S with technicians training centers. It aims at having 25 different electric models that will be on the road before 2023. $56 million has been invested in these support centers to ensure that the company can meet this target.