BAIC launches R&D centre in Aachen

October 02, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
A couple of years ago, European and American carmakers opened R&D centres in China to better align their products to the demand in far east. As the Chinese auto industry gains strength, the story also works the other way around: BAIC opens an R&D centre in Germany. It is already its second one in the western world.

The new BAIC EV – Meta New Energy Vehicle Aachen R&D Centre is intended to complement the carmaker’s Silicon Valley facility. It has been tasked with the development of powertrain components for our forthcoming electric vehicle offerings. By bringing together the world’s advanced technologies BAIC EV plans to extend the range for their own Electric Vehicles. With extended range capability, BAIC EV will address consumer objections to electric vehicles.

Unlike BAIC’s existing Silicon Valley R&D centre, which focuses on the development of electric vehicle structures, batteries and infotainment systems, the Aachen R&D centre will be focused on overcoming the primary consumer objection to electric drivetrains, range. BAIC will be working with Meta Motoren und Energie-Technik in this regard, an Aachen-based drivetrain development company that BAIC recently acquired a 45% stake in. Meta’s contribution to this enterprise will focus on the development of range-extending combustion engines and the electronic control systems needed for their useful integration.

According to BAIC, Meta’s specific capabilities will play a crucial role in this process. As a specialist in internal combustion development, Meta has the wherewithal to engage in conceptual design, rapid prototyping, advanced modelling, analysis of competitor product, sample manufacturing, testing, and the development of integrating software control systems. The company currently employs around 100 employees, with future local hiring likely to scale up as the partnership with BAIC yields greater demands for local technical talent. The Chinese carmaker chose Aachen as the location for its new R&D centre for the proximity to the renown RWTH Aachen Technical University.

According to, Xu Hey, Chairman of both BAIC Group and BAIC EVi, alternative powertrain concepts are at the verge of taking off in the market. “it is a critical moment for the traditional automotive industry, we are in a bottleneck period where alternative energy offerings are rising in the marketplace”, he said. “BAIC EV will optimize the distribution of resources by integrating the resources and talents