Munich, Germany – BMW Group gave a nod to sustainable tire & rubber technology at the launch of its i Vision Circular concept car, billed as “a compact BMW for the year 2040 that is focused squarely on sustainability and luxury.”
The four-seater electric vehicle (EV) has been designed to circular economy principles “across the board,” with a particular focus on the use of secondary materials, BMW said at an IAA Mobility 2021 event.
These materials, such as recycled aluminium and secondary steel, can “bring about a major improvement in a vehicle’s carbon footprint, especially on the supply chain side,” said the German automotive major.
BMW vehicles are currently manufactured using nearly 30% recycled and reused material on average, whereas the ‘secondary first’ approach is intended to increase this figure to 50%.
Moreover, the EV is said to be optimised for closed materials cycles, with “100% use of recycled materials and 100% recyclability.” This, said BMW, involves using materials that have already completed a product life cycle, alongside certified bio-based raw materials.
Another aspect is the use of a small number of different mono-material groups with connections that can easily be undone to aid recycling. So, instead of bonded connections or composite materials, BMW’s concept EV uses connection types, such as cords, press studs and quick-release fasteners.
Meanwhile, the tires in ‘vivid blue rubber’ are made from "certified, sustainably cultivated natural rubber and have a slightly transparent appearance,” the premium car maker further announced at the 6 Sept launch.
“Extra coloured, recycled rubber particles are added to the tire compound for strengthening, creating an intriguing terrazzo effect and purposefully highlighting the reuse of materials," added BMW.
“The BMW i Vision Circular illustrates our all-encompassing, meticulous way of thinking when it comes to sustainable mobility,” said Oliver Zipse, chairman of BMW AG.
Extending resource-efficiency to all stages of the vehicle life cycle.“is a question of economic sustainability too, according to Zipse.
"The current trend in commodity prices clearly shows the financial consequences in store for any industry that is reliant on finite resources,” noted the BMW leader.
ERJ is requesting further information from BMW about the use of elastomer/rubber materials in the tires and other components of the i Vision Circular, and in its other new sustainability-focused platforms.