New Delhi:The BMW Group targets to reduce its CO2 emissions by 40% per vehicle by 2030 across the entire value chain compared to 2019. “We are consistently driving the issue of sustainability with our innovations,” Thomas Becker, Head of Sustainability and Mobility, BMW Group.
“We will continue to reduce CO2 emissions and conserve natural resources through maximum energy and raw material efficiency,” he said. An average of almost 30% of BMW Group vehicles are already made from recycled and reused materials today, so-called “secondary raw materials”. In the longer term, the “Secondary First” approach aims to increase this figure to 50%.
According to the company, by 2030, at least one in two cars sold by the BMW Group is to be fully electric. The MINI and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars brands will offer only fully electric vehicles from the beginning of the 2030s. For example, the BMW Group aims to reduce CO2 emissions per vehicle in the use phase by 50% by 2030 compared to 2019.
“However, sustainability means much more for the BMW Group than merely building and selling electrically powered vehicles,” Becker said. “Only a comprehensive sustainability approach from resource to recycling actually achieves a bottom-line reduction of CO2 emissions,” he added.
Responsible sourcing of raw materials: The design principle for the current-generation BMW eDrive electric motors eliminates the need to use rare earth materials in the rotor. The BMW Group is also taking its own approach to source the raw materials needed to produce high-voltage batteries with the objective of achieving complete transparency in the origin and mining methods of the material: the company purchases lithium and cobalt directly and makes it available to battery cell manufacturers.
“Green steel” reduces CO2 emissions by up to 95%: The Group has already entered into more than 400 contracts with its suppliers to use 100% green electricity. This also includes aluminium suppliers as well as the producers of the battery cells, for example. The BMW Group has been sourcing aluminium from the United Arab Emirates since February 2021 using electricity generated from solar energy.
From 2024 onwards, all cast aluminium wheels for the brands BMW and MINI will also be produced using only green electricity. The regeneratively generated energy is used both in the energy-intensive electrolysis when producing aluminium and when casting the wheels.
CO2 emissions are also being continuously reduced in the steel supply chain. From 2025 onwards, the BMW Group will purchase CO2-reduced steel that is produced not using fossil-based raw materials such as coal but instead using natural gas or hydrogen and green electricity. This reduces CO2 emissions from making this steel by up to 95%. The BMW Group will provide over 40% of the demand at its European plants from this by 2030. This will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 400,000 tonnes per year.
Circular economy is the key to more sustainability: The BMW i Vision Circular has already demonstrated how consistently a car can be designed following the principles of the circular economy. As well as organic-based raw materials, it primarily uses materials that have already gone through a product life cycle and in turn have 100% recyclability. The aim is to recycle raw materials from end-of-life vehicles as effectively as possible for the series production of new cars in the future.
The example set by the BMW i Vision Circular makes it clear that resource conservation begins with a vehicle’s design. This includes consistently reducing components, material groups and surface finishes. Instead of composite materials and adhesives, the BMW i Vision Circular primarily uses mono-materials as well as cords, buttons, or quick-release fasteners, meaning that the individual components can be easily separated from one another and recycled according to type when they later come to be recycled.
Innovative recycling processes: The BMW Group is also doing important groundwork around vehicle recycling on the road to a closed-loop economy. Up to 10,000 BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad vehicles are recycled each year at the BMW Group’s Recycling and Dismantling Centre (RDZ) in Unterschleißheim near Munich. They are dismantled in a standardized process that focuses on identifying reusable components as well as materials that are suitable for recycling.
BMW Group designers and development engineers use the expertise gained by the RDZ to optimize the recyclability of new models right from the start. The findings are also being shared with our partners. The BMW Group played a key role in setting up the IDIS (International Dismantling Information System) platform. The data and findings published there are available to recyclers around the world.
The RDZ has also used innovative methods for many years to recycle high-voltage batteries from electrified vehicles. Processes have been developed in conjunction with partners from industry and science that can achieve a recycling rate of more than 90%. The BMW Group has also shared this expertise to foster general progress in the field of battery recycling.
In China, the BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) joint venture has now for the first time established a closed cycle for reusing the raw materials nickel, lithium and cobalt from high-voltage batteries. The raw materials extracted are used in the production of new battery cells for the BMW Group. The closed material cycle conserves the consumption of resources and reduces CO2 emissions by around 70% compared to using newly mined primary material.
Sustainable production: The Group has established closed loops for steel and aluminium between its production sites and suppliers. As a result, around 70% of the steel waste from the pressing plants and the aluminium residues are reused through a direct circular economy (the closed loop).
The BMW Group has reduced CO2 emissions attributable to vehicle production by more than 70% since 2006. All plants in the international production network have been CO2-neutral since 2021. Alongside this, water consumption and waste generation have also been continuously reduced. For example, only around 580 grams of residual waste were produced per vehicle manufactured in 2021 at the BMW Group’s largest European plant in Dingolfing.
Energy efficiency, resource conservation and waste avoidance are being further improved at the BMW Group’s production sites with the transformation into an iFACTORY. The new BMW Group plant in the northwest of the Hungarian city of Debrecen, where our “Neue Klasse” models will be built from 2025 onwards, is a prime example of vehicle production that is consistently geared towards sustainability and the circular economy.