Thursday's announcement by the BMW Group outlined its intention to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by 50% from 2019 levels, and to cut emissions 40% during the vehicle's lifecycle. These goals will be realized in the Neue Klasse platform of the BMW Group, which should be ready by 2025.
The BMW New Class was announced in March. It is a relaunch of the BMW Line of Sedans and Coupes that the German automaker manufactured between 1962-1977. This line established BMW's reputation as a sports car manufacturer. According to the company, the new line will include a completely new IT and software architecture, new generation high-performance electric drivetrains, batteries, and a radical new approach to sustainability throughout the vehicle's entire life cycle.
The Neue Klasse is a significant step in our commitment to the 1.5 degree target. Oliver Zipse (chairman of the board management at BMW AG), made a statement. When it comes to judging corporate actions, how companies deal with CO2 emissions is a key factor. How strongly we can reduce the carbon footprint of cars over the course of their lives is the decisive factor in global warming mitigation. We are therefore setting clear and ambitious goals to reduce CO2 emissions. These are validated and verified by the Science Based Targets Initiative.
BMW claims that the group's CO2 footprint is 70% in the utilization phase. This makes sense considering that the majority of BMW's cars are still ICE-powered. According to the 2021 half-year earnings, 11.44% of BMW's total sales volume was either electric or plug in hybrid. The company stated that it aims to sell 1 million plug-in vehicles, including hybrids by 2021. It was at 850,000 as of Q2. However, to achieve its goal of halving the emissions during the utilization phase BMW will need to increase its sales of low- or zero-emission vehicles. BMW already has the i3 compact EV and plans to launch two long range models, the i4 sedan, and iX SUV later in 2018. There are also plans to add more in 2022. The automaker, unlike GM and Volvo, has not yet made plans to discontinue its ICE vehicles or launched a complete line of battery-powered vehicles.
This announcement comes only a few months after BMW and other German automakers Volkswagen Audi, Porsche, and Audi, admitted to being part of an emissions cartel. Collectively, the automakers concealed technology that could have reduced harmful emissions beyond what was required by EU emission standards. BMW was fined $442 million by the EU, which is a small amount considering BMW's second quarter profits of nearly $6 billion.
The EUs Fit for 55 Energy and Climate Package, released last month, raised the overall goal of reducing carbon emissions from 40% to 55% by 2030. This means that automakers will need to accelerate electrification. BMW is well aware of this. The European Commission is also reportedly considering other proposals, including a 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and a 100% cut by 2035. This would make it nearly impossible to sell ICE cars by then.
BMW claims that its Neue Klasse will increase the momentum for EVs on the market. BMW aims to produce 10 million all electric cars over the next decade. At least half of all BMW Group sales will be all-electric, and the Mini brand will offer exclusively all-electric vehicles starting in 2030. BMW plans to promote the Neue Klasse, a better market and increase use of secondary materials as part of its circular economy focus. Although the company stated that it intends to increase its use of secondary materials from 30% to 50% at present, it didn't specify when.
BMW claims that its use of secondary nickel, such as in the iX, is at least 50%. The battery housing can contain up to 30% secondary aluminium, and it is working to increase those numbers. BMW and the ALBA Group are also working together to improve the recycling of plastics in cars.
According to BMW, the ALBA Group analyzes end-of-life BMW Group vehicles in order to determine if a car-to–car reuse of plastic is possible. BASF then assesses whether the chemical recycling of pre-sorted waste is possible to produce pyrolysis oils. This can be used to make new plastic products. A used instrument panel could be recycled to make a new trim for doors or other components.
BMW incorporates early-stage design into its vehicles to make it easier to recycle. It is important that materials are assembled in a way that makes it easy to take apart at the end of their useful life and reuse them. According to the automaker, it will be using monomaterials in its interior design. These materials can then be used again as usable material.
The company stated in a statement that the wiring on the cars must be removed easily to prevent the steel and copper from mixing with the cables. This can cause secondary steel to lose its fundamental material properties, which makes it less safe for the automotive industry.
Circular economy also means using better-quality vehicles. This will lower the total amount of materials required because these parts can be easily recycled or repaired.
BMW has made this announcement to ensure transparency in relation to the vehicle's life cycle. Although the company publishes life cycle assessments (LCAs) as do most major car manufacturers, there is no industry standard yet. This makes it sometimes difficult to compare vehicles. If we are to reduce emissions, it will become more important to look at the entire life cycle of a vehicle. There is still a lot of research to be done on the emissions from manufacturing processes and supply chains that produce the materials used to build batteries and cars. This is what is being revealed by the new light. It is possible that these moves may even lead to increased emissions overall.
It can be difficult to quantify embodied emissions accurately, and EVs are no exception. Mark Mills, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, wrote in a TechCrunch article on what it takes for EVs to have a real carbon cost. Although an EV is self-evidently emission free while driving, around 80% of its lifetime emissions are due to the combination of the embodied and unutilized energy used in manufacturing the battery and the electricity required to drive it. The rest comes from the manufacturing of non-fuel parts. This ratio is reversed for conventional cars, where approximately 80% of the lifecycle emissions are directly caused by fuel burning while driving and the remainder comes from the embodied energies to manufacture gasoline and make the car.