No, not the roundel logo. The way it is conceiving and building its vehicles
By Gary S. Vasilash
When people think/talk about environmentally appropriate vehicles, the tendency is to talk about the tailpipe—or the lack thereof.
That is, an electric car (no tailpipe) or a fuel-cell-powered car (which has an exhaust to let the water vapor escape) is seen to be good because it is an electric car or a fuel-cell-powered car. (Trucks and SUVs can be used in place of “car.”)
But what somehow gets overlooked is the fact that there is a heck of a lot more to a motor vehicle than the type of propulsion system that it uses.
There is all of that other “stuff” that goes into making a vehicle.
Things like the chassis and the body panels. The steering wheel and the seats. The carpet on the floor and the headliner on the ceiling.
And so on.
The production of these things has an effect on the lifecycle emissions of a given vehicle.
Sure, the use of the vehicle has a huge impact on the vehicle’s effect on the environment.
So while it is not exactly a leader in the electric vehicle space, which is leading some people to raise an eyebrow, credit to BMW for introducing a concept vehicle at the IAA Mobility 2021 event (what used to be known as “the Frankfurt show” until it was moved, this year, to Munich) that has an absolute basis in sustainability.
It is called the “BMW I Vision Circular.”
“Vision,” I suppose, because this is something that is for 2040.
“Circular” because the vehicle is entirely developed and built using principles of the circular economy, as in it is built with 100% recycled materials and 100% of those materials can be recycled again.
Even the battery for this electric vehicle, a solid-state battery (of course, although BMW is working on this technology, it is still a ways off for production vehicles, but works quite well in a one-off concept) is designed to be recycled.
While recycled materials have generally thought of as having a premium price, BMW chief Oliver Zipse made an interesting observation: “the current trend in commodity prices clearly shows the financial consequences in store for any industry that is reliant on finite resources.”