BMW Strengthens Electric Vehicle Fleet, Citing Ecological and Economic Sustainability

(Credit: BMW Group)

BMW Group has announced it will be “increasing the pace of its efforts to combat climate change,” pledging a 50% reduction in use-phase carbon emissions relative to 2019 by 2030 and a 40% reduction in overall emissions. On the front end, BMW aims to consume fewer resources, improving “not only ecological but also economic sustainability” given commodity prices will continue to increase as resources become more scarce.

BMW is targeting the use of recycled and secondary materials to cut back on resource consumption. Currently, the German automaker is “using almost 30% recycled and reusable materials” but “plans to successively raise this figure to 50%.”

With this step, BMW is signaling its commitment to climate targets including the Paris Agreement’s 1.5-degree Celsius warming cap and the EU’s Fit for 55 goal of reducing emissions by 55% by 2030.

The centerpiece of BMW’s initiative is its revamped Neue Klasse vehicle line. Originally introduced in the 1960s, the reimagined Neue Klasse will consist of materials-efficient, all-electric vehicles with a scheduled availability date of 2025. BMW plans to put ten million electric vehicles on the road within ten years, anticipating that by 2030, “at least half of global BMW Group sales will be all-electric vehicles, with the MINI brand offering exclusively all-electric.” However, in contrast to automakers such as GM, Volvo, and Jaguar, who are working toward a complete phase-out of their gas-powered vehicles, BMW stated that it will be using “innovation, rather than any overall ban on individual technologies” as its sustainability strategy.

To this end, BMW will be partnering with ALBA and BASF to increase the recycling rate of its vehicle plastics. First, Alba will conduct end-of-life analyses of BMW’s vehicles to establish whether a car-to-car reuse of the plastic is possible. BASF will then “assess whether chemical recycling of the pre-sorted waste can be used in order to obtain pyrolysis oil, [which] can be used as a basis for new products made of plastic.” Providing an example, BMW suggested that “in the future, a new door trim or other components could be manufactured from a used instrument panel.”

Board Chairman Oliver Zipse summarized BMW’s intent with the new effort, stating, “How companies are dealing with CO2 emissions has become a major factor when it comes to judging corporate action. The decisive factor in the fight against global warming is how strongly we can improve the carbon footprint of vehicles over their entire life span. This is why we are setting ourselves transparent and ambitious goals for the substantial reduction of CO2 emissions; these are validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative and will deliver an effective and measurable contribution.”

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