Models launched on the Neue Klasse platform from 2025 will contain parts made from recycled fishing nets and ropes.
Last year, BMW presented the i Vision Circular Concept, previewing a world where cars are made using 100% recyclable materials. But we don't have to wait for 2040 to see the principles previewed in the concept find their place in today's manufacturing processes. A few days ago, the BMW Group announced that it will be offering "fully vegan interiors" for both BMW and Mini models from 2023 to reduce CO2 emissions, and earlier this year, it announced that all of its aluminum wheels will be produced using 100% green power by 2024.
In the next phase of its plan to go as green as possible, BMW has announced that new-generation Neue Klasse models launched from 2025 onwards "will feature trim parts made of plastic whose raw material contains around 30% recycled fishing nets and ropes."
Using plastic waste from the maritime industry as a raw material will help the BMW Group to save resources and reduce CO2 emissions. By repurposing these waste products as raw materials, BMW's reliance on petroleum-based primary plastics is reduced, and ocean pollution is counteracted. Everyone wins.
At present, this recycled nylon waste is created from discarded fishing nets and worn floor coverings, as well as residual waste from plastics production, which is then turned into a synthetic yarn known as Econyl. BMW isn't waiting for 2025 to go green, though; the material is used in the floor mats of the BMW iX electric SUV and the new X1 crossover.
While repurposing the waste into a material for floor mats is a step in the right direction, BMW feels it can do more and will soon use maritime plastic waste to produce trim elements. Working with Danish company Plastix, BMW is going a step further. After separation, fishing nets and ropes are turned into plastic granules. Recycled maritime plastic has so far only been turned into fibers in the automotive industry - Jaguar has taken advantage of this already - but it's now suitable for the injection molding process, and the result is that components made from the stuff can now consist of approximately 30% maritime plastic waste.
BMW says that components created from recycled plastics through injection molding will be turned into trim parts that will be used in visible and non-visible areas of both the interior and exterior of Neue Klasse models from 2025. The overall target that the BMW Group aims to achieve is that of "increasing the proportion of secondary materials in the thermoplastics used in new vehicles from currently around 20% to an average of 40% by 2030."
We'll start to see what else BMW has in store for the Neue Klasse as soon as 2023 at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Germany next year.