BMW Group has announced the construction of a new proving ground in Prague, the Capital of the Czech Republic. This is the Bavarian carmaker’s first facility in Eastern Europe. It will be employed with the task of testing new technologies, such as electrification, digitalisation and automated driving.
The German carmaker hasn’t specified the exact investment amount but says it will be in the three-digit million-euro range. The proving ground will create several hundred job opportunities for the locals and is slated to go into operation early in the next decade. The BMW Group’s existing facilities in Aschheim, near Munich, Miramas (France) and Arjeplog (Sweden) no longer have sufficient capacity to meet testing requirements. Hence the carmaker has spent the past months exploring possible strategic locations in Germany and neighbouring countries.
Dr Herbert Grebenc, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, BMW AG, explaining the decision to locate in the Czech Republic, said, “We found the ideal conditions and grounds we need for vehicle testing in Sokolov. Opening our first development location in Eastern Europe will create new opportunities and marks a milestone in the history of our company. Working with the property owner Sokolovská Uhelná and all political representatives have been extremely positive so far and are based on mutual trust.”
The new proving ground will be the fourth of its kind from the BMW Group. The first facility opened up in 1971 in Aschheim near Munich. The Miramar facility in southern France was inaugurated in 1986. The carmaker then opened a testing centre in Arjeplog, northern Sweden about 55km south of the Arctic Circle in 2006. Currently, the vehicle testing (incl. testing of driver assistance systems) is being carried out under a temporary rental agreement on sections of Hof-Plauen Airport.