The citizens of Straßkirchen in Lower Bavaria have cleared the way for a large battery factory owned by the car manufacturer BMW, in which 600,000 high-voltage batteries for electric cars are to be assembled every year. At a referendum on Sunday, a clear majority decided to support the location of the factory, as the community announced.

The citizens’ initiative “Livable Gäuboden” forced the decision. The local council had previously clearly supported the settlement, which is expected to create 3,200 jobs. According to the preliminary results, the council’s request in favor of the settlement received 75.3 percent yes votes and 24.7 percent no votes. The citizens’ initiative, which was directed against the factory, only received 29.6 percent yes votes and 70.4 percent no votes. The two questions were asked separately.

Central for electric car production

For BMW, the factory, which is now to be built on an area that belongs to Straßkirchen and the neighboring town of Irlbach, is of central importance for ramping up electric car production. The vehicle factories in Dingolfing, 40 kilometers away, as well as Regensburg and Munich will be supplied from there. The location is close to the A3 and A92 motorways. The large, heavy batteries could therefore be transported directly to the car factories using electric trucks; additional warehouses would be unnecessary.

If the citizens had decided against the factory, the Munich car manufacturer says it would probably have switched to a location outside Bavaria. Both the manufacturer, which is already an important employer in the region, and Bavarian politicians had previously pointed out the signal effect of the decision. Even Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) promoted the settlement at the party conference on Saturday.

The factory’s opponents, on the other hand, had warned, among other things, of additional traffic, the loss of valuable arable land and an exacerbation of the shortage of skilled workers in local companies due to competition from the new jobs at BMW.