BMW looks at long-term future with i Vision Circular

(September 14, 2021)  MUNICH, Germany — With the BMW i Vision Circular, the BMW Group is looking ahead to a compact BMW for the year 2040 that is focused squarely on sustainability and luxury. The four-seater is fully electrically powered and offers a generous amount of interior space within its around four-meter-long footprint. It has furthermore been designed according to circular economy principles across the board and therefore symbolizes the BMW Group’s ambitious plan to become the world’s most sustainable manufacturer in the individual premium mobility space.

The Vision Vehicle is one of five different concept vehicles with which the BMW Group was presented at the IAA Mobility 2021 event here last week. Under a single umbrella spanning electric mobility, digitalization and sustainability, the five pioneering concepts create a versatile mobility mix on two and four wheels fueled by sustainable thinking, which comprehensively addresses an extremely wide range of mobility needs in the face of fast-changing requirements and growing challenges.

The BMW Group’s overriding aim as it strives to achieve climate neutrality is to reduce CO2 emissions throughout a vehicle’s entire life cycle. Besides electrifying the product portfolio and switching to renewable energy for manufacturing, the company is focusing particularly on circular economy principles and the use of secondary materials.

These materials, such as secondary aluminum and secondary steel, can be obtained by recycling waste material and then reused. The process for supplying secondary materials is far less harmful to the environment and carbon intensive compared to the extraction and manufacture of primary material. This can bring about a major improvement in a vehicle’s carbon footprint, especially on the supply chain side. At present, vehicles from the BMW Group are manufactured using nearly 30 per cent recycled and reused material on average. The ‘secondary first’ approach is intended to gradually increase this figure to 50 per cent.

“The BMW i Vision Circular illustrates our all-encompassing, meticulous way of thinking when it comes to sustainable mobility. It symbolizes our ambition to be a pioneering force in the development of a circular economy,” explains Oliver Zipse, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “We lead the way for resource efficiency in production and we are seeking to extend this status to all stages of the vehicle life cycle. This is a question of economic sustainability too, as the current trend in commodity prices clearly shows the financial consequences in store for any industry that is reliant on finite resources.

“We will take the next big step towards achieving this with the ‘Neue Klasse’ models. We appreciate there are many BMW fans longing for a first foretaste of the ‘Neue Klasse’, but the BMW i Vision Circular isn’t it. I can promise, however, that, on a sustainability level, the ‘Neue Klasse’ is being developed with the same mindset applied for the BMW i Vision Circular.”

The overriding design aim for the BMW i Vision Circular was to create a vehicle that is optimized for closed materials cycles and achieves 100% use of recycled materials / 100% recyclability. This involves making particular use of materials that have already completed a product life cycle – or secondary materials as they are known – alongside certified bio-based raw materials.

The same applies to the energy storage device: the all-solid-state battery in the BMW i Vision Circular is 100 per cent recyclable and manufactured almost entirely using materials sourced from the re-cycling loop. It will achieve much higher energy density with significantly reduced use of the most valuable resources.