Powered by water: BMW Group manufactures electric cars with regional green electricity

The BMW Group will power production of the new electric BMW iX and BMW i4 at Plants Dingolfing and Munich entirely with regional green hydroelectricity. Contracts have been signed with Stadtwerke München and RWE Supply and Trading for energy to be supplied by hydroelectricity from rivers Isar and Lech.

Board Member for Production Milan Nedeljković said in a press release, “We take a holistic view of sustainability. So rather than just minimising emissions from driving, we are working to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of our production processes.”

The BMW Group already powers its production facilities worldwide entirely with green electricity today. “What’s new is the fact that in the future, we will source our renewable electricity directly from regional providers based close to our plants,” Nedeljković explained.

The green electricity needed for BMW iX production will come from the Isar hydroelectric power stations Uppenborn between Moosburg and Landshut while production of the BMW i4 will be powered by the Lech hydroelectric power stations in Gersthofen and Rain. The energy they supply is also used to manufacture a wide range of components for the two electric models, at BMW Group Plants Landshut, Dingolfing and Berlin.

“Our direct supply contracts add another major boost to the eco-credentials of the green electricity we use in production,” Nedeljković emphasised. But as well as implementing more and more such contracts, the BMW Group is increasing the share of the renewable or carbon-neutral electricity it generates itself. Since 2013, for instance, the four wind turbines at Plant Leipzig have provided the electricity needed to manufacture the BMW i3. Another of several examples from the BMW Group production network is the newest plant, in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, where production is largely powered using energy from large solar arrays.

The energy goals the BMW Group set itself are designed for the longer term. Between 2006 and 2019, emissions from production fell by over 70 per cent per car. Going forward, Nedeljković said, “We want to cut CO2 emissions by another 80 per cent by 2030, to less than 10 per cent of what they were in 2006.”

The BMW Group has a strong foundation to build on, having raised the bar repeatedly over the last few decades in terms of sustainability. Continuous improvement remains central to the strategy to cut CO2 emissions and increase resource efficiency.

As well as sourcing 100 per cent green energy, since 2020 the BMW Group has been systematically investing in improving energy efficiency – partly by capitalising on the opportunities of digitalisation. Data analytics already helped make production more efficient, for instance with predictive machine maintenance and by minimising the number of parts rejected from the bodyshop. As well as drastically cutting actual CO2 emissions, the BMW Group will offset any remaining emissions (Scope 1 + 2) in full via relevant certificates.

Contracts have been signed with Stadtwerke München and RWE Supply and Trading for energy to be supplied by hydroelectricity. PHOTO: BMW