It’s always a challenge to digest the sustainability credentials of automakers given the inherently heavy environmental footprints of all manner of private vehicles when stacked up against walking, running, cycling and public transport. Nevertheless, any efforts to increase the use of recycled materials in cars probably deserve a degree of credit.
Highlighting such ambitions, the overall design goal of the BMW i Vision Circular concept vehicle unveiled at IAA Mobility 2021 of was to create a platform that is optimized for closed material cycles and achieves a rate of 100% recycled materials or 100% recyclability. In addition to bio-based and certified raw materials, materials that have already passed through a product life cycle – so-called secondary materials – are used to achieve this aim.
This also applies to the energy storage system: The solid-state battery of the BMW i Vision Circular is 100% recyclable and almost completely made from recycled materials. At the same time, it will achieve a considerably higher energy density with significantly fewer of the most valuable resources.
In terms of plastics usage, the seat assemblies are made entirely of recycled plastic, with a quick release fastener realizing design for recyclability—allowing the metal and textile components to be easily separated.
The instrument panel, meanwhile, brings together a concoction of FSC certified wood, recycled aluminum, and recycled 3D-printed plastic, and once again incorporates BMW’s “Joyful Fusion” quick release fastener that enable easy separation of major components. The interior featured recycled wood powder, aluminum, 3D-printed plastics, and other plastic components in various color combinations.
Don’t despair of you’re looking for a lighter environmental impact. BMW has also unveiled a high-speed pedelec (electric bike) with speed options of 25 km/h (15.5 mph) on cycle tracks, up to 45 km/h (28 mph) on city-centre roads and up to 60 km/h (37 mph) on multi-lane roads and outside urban areas. Don’t forget your license for the higher speeds though.