Status: 06.09.2021 2:45 p.m.
At the IAA, BMW is presenting a car made from 100 percent old and renewable raw materials. The topic will also play a greater role for Conti in the future.
Today at the International Motor Show (IAA), BMW boss Oliver Zipse presented a car made from 100 percent old and renewable raw materials. It should point to a concrete future that the BMW i Vision Circular is not just a design study, but “the way of thinking with which we are developing the New Class”, in other words: the electric vehicle architecture for the model generations from 2025 onwards.
The body of the small car is made of recycled, unpainted aluminum and steel. “It can just as well be brought back into the cycle,” said BMW chief designer Adrian van Hooydonk.
Sustainability also speaks for circular economy
BMW announces that the development is not only about the climate and the environment, but also about business administration, after all, raw materials are becoming scarcer and more expensive. “Because the current development of raw material prices shows what effects an industry that is dependent on limited resources must expect,” emphasizes Zipse. BMW expects additional costs of at least half a billion euros for raw materials this year.
With the growing share of e-cars, the demand for cobalt, nickel, aluminum and other raw materials is increasing. In addition to availability and rising prices, sustainability also speaks for a circular economy, according to Zipse.
Conti’s green concept
The automotive supplier Continental also uses the fair to present itself as an ecological company. The automotive supplier announced before the start of the IAA that the tire range should be geared towards the more careful use of natural resources and more energy efficiency in the coming years. The aim is to convert global production “completely to the use of sustainable materials” in the medium term, explained the head of the business with tire original equipment for passenger cars, David O’Donnell.
Renewable and recycled raw materials and materials should be expanded to “a particularly high proportion” over the entire value chain. Many tires could also be more efficient and durable thanks to new lightweight designs and special treads. The aim is to play a leading role here by 2030. From 2050 at the latest, only sustainably produced materials should then be used.
The recycling of e-car batteries has also long been considered a promising business model. Valuable raw materials such as lithium and cobalt contained in the batteries should be reused through recycling. In addition, e-car batteries, whose performance is no longer sufficient for use in the vehicle, still have an energy content of 70 to 80 percent. That is why they can be used as electricity storage for private households in so-called Second Life.
Environmental organizations want to sue
Critics of the auto industry argue that the economic goal of selling more and more vehicles year after year is in clear contradiction to the idea of a sustainable economy and the consideration of limited resources. According to experts, recycling and the construction of long-lived vehicles are ideal ways of protecting the climate and the environment.
Last week, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) and Greenpeace took legal action against the car companies VW, BMW and Mercedes-Benz as well as the mineral oil producer Wintershall Dea in order to oblige them to more climate protection.
The car companies want to defend themselves in the event of a lawsuit, Wintershall Dea wants to comment “after carefully examining” the letter. “We are clearly committed to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and thus to the decarbonization of the automotive industry,” said Mercedes-Benz AG, for example.