Leipzig, Germany, sits in the heart of what used to be communist East Germany. In many regards, Leipzig is still in East Germany, since the prosperity enjoyed by former East German cities such as Berlin has bypassed Leipzig. Having traveled all over Germany, I can say without reservation that Leipzig is the Newark, NJ of Germany; it’s dirty, it’s decrepit, the infrastructure is failing and the people are downright hostile to foreigners, even those who speak German. That may be changing, as BMW is investing some $565 million in their Leipzig plant, as part of an expansion to build their Megacity EV. Some 800 (badly needed) jobs will be created by the plant’s expansion and BMW’s foray into electric vehicle production.
BMW’s Chairman of the Board of Management, Dr. Norbert Reithofer, was quoted by Left Lane News as saying, “By producing the Megacity Vehicle in Germany the BMW Group is demonstrating a clear commitment to Germany as a high-tech location. With this vehicle we are revolutionizing automotive design and production, and offering our customers the first purpose-built electric vehicle for urban areas.”
While the Megacity EV remains at least two years off, Leipzig will also be used to build BMW’s 1 Series EV, expected to go on sale in Germany by the end of 2011. The Leipzig plant becomes BMW’s first German manufacturing facility capable of producing an electric vehicle.