Magna advances vehicle electrification
Magna International announced its intention to form two new joint ventures with Beijing Electric Vehicle Co. Ltd. (BJEV) for complete vehicle manufacturing as well as engineering of electric vehicles. Magna and BJEV, a subsidiary of the BAIC Group for electric cars, gathered Monday to sign term sheets for the new joint ventures. Executives from both companies were joined by Mr. Wu Zhenglong, Governor of Jiangsu Province, and officials from Zhenjiang at a signing ceremony held in Nanjing. Over the coming months, Magna and BJEV will work with authorities to implement legally binding joint-venture agreements that will govern the operations of these two joint ventures.
The joint ventures will also be set up to offer engineering and complete vehicle manufacturing capacity to other potential customers.The engineering and manufacturing joint ventures are expected to take over an existing BAIC manufacturing facility in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province, where the first production vehicles are planned for 2020. The plant has the capacity to build up to 180,000 vehicles per year.
"These joint-venture operations mark a historic milestone for Magna. For the first time we will be providing our customers with cars engineered and built outside our complete vehicle manufacturing facility in Graz, Austria," said Don Walker, CEO of Magna International Inc. "It's a unique capability for Magna, especially with our ability to produce vehicles with conventional, hybrid, and electric powertrains, and we are excited to bring it to a market like China where there is tremendous opportunity."
"From a strategic point of view, the establishment of the JVs will benefit both Magna and BAIC to further strengthen our business growth in China," Mr. Xu Heyi, Chairman of BAIC Group, said at the ceremony. "Based on an open and sharing platform, we will jointly develop and manufacture premium smart electric vehicles, bringing the clean energy vehicle industry to the next level."
In April 2018, BAIC Group and Magna announced they will jointly develop a next-generation smart electric vehicle architecture for the Chinese market. It is expected that this vehicle architecture will be transferred to the engineering joint venture and will form the platform of the new electric vehicles to be launched by the joint venture.
In other recent electrification news, Magna is expanding its investment into mild-hybrid development with a new 48-V transfer case that realizes a 10% improvement in CO2 emissions vs. current technology. One of the auto industry's first 48-V mild-hybrid transfer cases, the four-wheel drive etelligentDrive eDS system can be integrated into existing drivetrains. Additionally, the new system provides better fuel efficiency than a two-wheel-drive system.
"With our expanding portfolio of 48-V products, highlighted by the new mild-hybrid transfer case, we're giving automakers the flexibility to easily integrate 48-V drives into their existing drivetrain layouts," said Swamy Kotagiri, Magna CTO and president of Magna Powertrain. "Our electrification strategy is focused on the need to create powertrain efficiencies while also improving driving dynamics and safety for the consumer."