Sustainability is key beginning with raw material extraction.
As we wait for the all-new 2022 BMW ix xDrive50 to go on sale, the German automaker has released a fresh batch of details about the all-electric SUV's approach to sustainability. BMW went to great lengths to ensure its new battery-electric SUV met strict standards in the fields of raw material extraction, electricity used from renewable sources during production, and a high proportion of recycled build materials. Sustainability is a must.
This begins at the heart of all EVs: rare earth minerals like cobalt and lithium. For example, BMW confirms no cobalt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo is being used for its latest generation eDrive technology. Instead, cobalt comes from more localized sources that uphold human rights.
The same goes for lithium, which is vital for batteries. The iX's lithium is mined from hard-rock deposits in Australia in accordance with environmental standards. BMW claims it has secured guarantees from all of its battery suppliers to use only electricity from renewable sources, and it leads by example.
The Dingolfing plant charged with building the iX (and additional EVs in the future) only uses locally produced hydroelectric power. The production of aluminum components, from the fine aluminum interior trim to vehicle component castings, is also a C02 emissions heavy process. Since last month, BMW Germany has been importing aluminum from the United Arab Emirates made with solar power, and this alone will supposedly reduce carbon emissions by 2.5 million tons by 2030.
An abundance of recycled materials can be found throughout the vehicle, with up to 50 percent of secondary aluminum used in manufacturing the iX's castings.
Inside, you'll find barely any chrome (only on the steering wheel) and even the center console's control panel is made from sustainably grown wood. Natural wool fibers, synthetic carpeting, and floor mats made from recycled nylon, and even leather upholstery treated with olive leaf extract instead of conventional tanning are found. Over 20 percent of the SUV's thermoplastic content, such as the front bumper surrounds and door paneling, are from reused plastic. All told, the iX contains 132 pounds of recycled plastic.
For the engine, engineers designed a drive unit that combines the electric motor, power electronics, and transmission within a single housing, resulting in a 30 percent power density increase over previous electric drive systems. An adaptive brake energy recuperation system further aids sustainability efforts.
"We are in no doubt: mobility has to be sustainable if it is to represent a truly outstanding solution," says BMW CEO Oliver Zipse. "For the BMW Group, premium mobility is not possible without responsibility." The iX xDrive50 will start in the mid-$80,000 range. Despite some earlier delays, pre-orders will begin this June and US market deliveries will get underway in early 2022.