BMW Goes All In on Sustainability
BMW Group believes premium products will be “inextricably linked” with global sustainability efforts in the future.
To this end, the carmaker has set aggressive targets for its Mini, Rolls-Royce and namesake car brands as well as its Motorrad motorcycle unit. The comprehensive plan covers raw material sourcing and other suppliers, production, fuels, vehicle emissions and recycling.
BMW’s initial 10-year plan calls for reducing vehicle lifecycle emissions by at least one-third. The company calculates this would cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 40 million metric tons, based on annual production rates equal to BMW Group’s volume last year of 2.5 million units.
Starting next year, BMW will publish a new annual report that details the company’s sustainability plans and results. The company’s board of management and executive management team’s compensation will be tied to achieving the goals, although the carmaker didn’t specify exactly how this would work.
The carmaker also is joining the Science-Based Targets Initiative that aims to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 1.5°C compared with pre-industrial era levels, which is even more aggressive than the 2°C cap set under the Paris Climate Agreement.
BMW previously has said its brands will offer a combined 25 electrified models by 2023, with about half coming from full EVs.
The updated 10-year plan calls for more than 7 million electrified BMW Group vehicles on the road by 2030. Two-thirds of the vehicles are expected to be EVs.
The rollout starts next year with five new EVs: the Mini Cooper SE and BMW’s upcoming i3, iX3, i4 and flagship iNext models. BMW also has said the next-generation 7 Series sedan will be available with a choice of diesel and gasoline engines—including 48-volt mild hybrids—plus a plug-in hybrid variant and full EV.
The same “power of choice” powertrain options also will be offered in the next 5 Series midsize car and X1 compact crossover. Timelines for these models haven’t been specified.
BMW aims to reduce the per-vehicle emissions generated at its 31 global manufacturing facilities some 80% by 2030 from 2019 levels. At this rate, CO2 emissions will then be less than 10% of what they were in 2006, according to carmaker. The company notes that manufacturing accounts for 90% of its emissions.
By the end of the year, BMW says it will source 100% of its energy from reusable sources, including so-called green hydrogen. The company also is applying data analytics and predictive maintenance to improve production efficiency and reduce in-process scrap.
Suppliers and Recycling
BMW claims it is the first carmaker to establish concrete CO2 targets for its supply chain, which comprises about 12,000 direct and indirect vendors. The process includes defining a supplier’s carbon footprint as a decision criterion in evaluating and awarding contracts.
This includes sourcing batteries from companies that have committed to use environmentally friendly production methods. Without such efforts, BMW says its electrification plans would increase the per-vehicle CO2 emissions of its supply chain by more than one-third by 2030.
The carmaker also aims to significantly increase the use of recyclable materials in its vehicles by 2030. This can result in a three- to fourfold reduction in emissions from the production of aluminum and a two- to threefold reduction generated by cobalt, nickel and lithium, BMW estimates.
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