BMW’s new green wheels to cut CO2 emissions by 500,000 tonnes

By: | April 20th, 2022

Image courtesy: Pixabay

The BMW Group is looking to cut carbon emissions from the entire spectrum of its production steps and all of the components that make up a modern car. In this context, the German automaker has decided to introduce wheels made out of 100% green aluminum, meaning that the metal didn’t involve the use of hydrocarbons during its production. That would be aluminum made with hydrogen or renewables as the primary energy source for processing and metal recycled from collected and processed scraps instead of being sourced from ground deposits (mined).

According to the firm’s announcement, wheels in BMW cars have accounted for roughly 5% of the total supply chain CO2 emissions, which is a considerable amount. The BMW Group needs about 10 million wheels yearly, and 95% of those are currently made from cast aluminum. Completing the transition to green aluminum will make a massive difference in the firm’s effort to reach carbon-neutral status, cutting up to 500,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. This is the equivalent of the annual carbon emissions of 107,000 gasoline cars, or the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions saved from operating 136 wind turbines for a year.

The MINI Countryman will usher this new program by 2023, when it’s planned to use 70% recycled aluminum processed with 100% renewable energy, with all of the other models of the brand following gradually for a complete transition. BMW says it has already signed over 400 contracts with suppliers of wheels and aluminum, to whom it has imposed strict sourcing and processing requirements.

BMW’s overall goal on that front is to reduce the emissions throughout its supply chain by 20% by 2030, and wheels are just one piece of the puzzle. The aluminum that goes into the body parts and the chassis are much larger pieces that the German brand is also looking to decarbonize, and already, it’s sourcing 43,000 tons of aluminum used in these components from foundries that use 100% solar energy.

Bill Toulas

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