The BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture in China has just established a closed-loop for recycling important battery materials as the German carmaker continues in its aims to achieve climate neutrality.
Policies in China require high-voltage battery tracing systems to be established, ensuring that batteries can be tracked and recycled at the end of their lifecycle. BMW’s system uses coding to track batteries across the entire value chain from initial test vehicles to vehicles already on the market.
Batteries returned to BMW are evaluated and either reused or recycled. The brand currently operates forklifts at its BBA plants with reused batteries. In the case of batteries being recycled, BMW is able to reuse the nickel, lithium, and cobalt in the production of new battery cells. Most of these batteries come from development vehicles, test systems, production rejects, and will eventually include end-of-life vehicles.
BMW says the closed-loop recycling loop reduces CO2 emissions by 70 per cent compared to using newly extracted primary material.
“In light of the growing scarcity of finite resources and rising commodity prices, it is especially important to push forward with the circular economy, increase the percentage of reusable materials and reduce our dependence on raw materials,” head of BMW Group Region China, Jochen Goller, said. “The BMW Group will expand its recycling concept in China in the future – which will not only contribute to environmental protection, but also effectively support China’s transition to a low-CO2 economy.”
The China Automotive Technology and Research Center predicts the volume of retired batteries in the country will reach 780,000 tonnes by 2025.
BMW has committed to achieving climate neutrality throughout its entire value chain by 2050 at the latest. It plans for roughly 10 per cent of its line-up sold this year to be made up of electric vehicles and by 2030, expects at least 50 per cent of its sales to be for EVs.