BMW is developing a new platform for its future electric vehicles called Neue Klasse. The first product riding on the new architecture will arrive in 2025, but it will usher in more than just electric propulsion. Neue Klasse models will also incorporate recycled fishing nets and ropes into their interior and exterior trim pieces.
In cooperation with the Danish company Plastix, BMW has a process that turns the nets and ropes into plastic granules suitable for injection molding. The automaker plans to use the recycled plastic pieces in both visible and non-visible interior and exterior trim pieces, with the waste making up about 30 percent of the raw material. BMW wants to increase the proportion of recycled materials used in plastics in new vehicles from around 20 percent today to 40 percent by 2030.
Gallery: BMW To Use Recycled Fishing Nets
The process keeps nets and ropes from polluting the oceans and landfills and results in a lower carbon footprint – 25 percent lower than conventionally manufactured plastics. BMW already uses recycled nylon called Econyl to create synthetic yarn, which the company uses in floor mats for the BMW iX and the BMW X1.
BMW's push toward electrification also includes a push toward sustainability. In 2021, the automaker unveiled the i Vision Circular concept car, a four-seat EV that used 100 percent recycled material, which included the battery pack. BMW designed the car to meet four principles: Re:think, Re:duce; Re:use; Re:cycle.
Automakers, big and small, have been incorporating recycled materials into their vehicle for years, and the push to reduce global greenhouse emissions, eliminate waste, and cut pollution has companies thinking creatively about the future of manufacturing automobiles. BMW wants to cut its global CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2030, including cleaning up the manufacturing process.
Recycled materials will likely become more integral to the car-making process in the years to come. The first Neue Klasse car to arrive will be a compact electric sedan, followed by a compact SUV. The platform will be capable of supporting ICE powertrains, which will stick around in M models until at least 2030.