The BMW Group’s, the Czech government and Karlovary Vary region have revealed plans for the construction of a new proving ground to be built in Sokolov, in the Karlovary Vary region. The property is to be roughly 500- hectares and will be positioned close to the town of Waldsassen on the German border, making it under 3 hour’s drive from the BMW Group’s main development site in Munich.
“The BMW Group is at the vanguard of technology. As an innovation driver, we aim to offer customers the best, most emotional mobility experience and create digital connections between people, vehicles and services. At the planned proving facility in Sokolov, we will continue to advance ground-breaking topics, such as electrification, digitalisation and automated driving – for example, through safety-testing for assistance systems,” says Dr. Herbert Grebenc, BMW AG, human resources, senior vice president real estate management, corporate security.
Grebenc also explained the choice to build a new proving ground in the Czech Republic: “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 has been extremely positive so far and is based on mutual trust.”
Jana Vildumetzová, president of the Karlovary Vary region says that the project will generate “several hundred jobs”. She also adds that “through construction of a proving ground for automated driving, we are opening a new chapter in the continued development of our region. This will open up attractive new employment opportunities in development and related areas for the people of Sokolov and the entire region. This project comes at exactly the right time and we will do everything we can to ensure that the Karlovary Vary region is a strong partner for the company and provides full support throughout its implementation.”
Tomáš Hüner, Czech minister of industry and trade, also highlighted the importance of such a project for the Czech economy, noting that the “Ministry of Industry and Trade welcomes investments of this kind, which create highly-skilled and specialised jobs and bring high added value for the Czech economy.”