The BMW Group is partnering with representatives from the recycling industry, commodity processors, and scientific community to explore a so-called circular economy in automotive manufacturing. The Car2Car project – supported by a 6.4-million euro grant from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action – aims to investigate the materials aluminum, steel, glass, copper, and plastic.
The project focuses on developing innovative dismantling and automated sorting methods to improve the quality of secondary raw materials obtained from recycling end-of-life vehicles. The aim is to increase the proportion of secondary materials used in BMW's new models from around 30 to 50 percent.
The BMW Group has set a target of making new cars with 50 percent recycled materials. The recyclability of materials is already taken into account during the design process of new models. The project will provide a representative spectrum of end-of-life vehicles from Mini to Rolls-Royce cars with combustion engines, plug-in hybrid systems, and all-electric powertrains. The project partners will look for ways to improve closed vehicle material flows and evaluate how limiting the flow of materials to vehicles affects the quality and purity of secondary raw materials.
The Car2Car consortium aims to recommend an innovative framework to enable an efficient circular economy to deliver greater added value in the future than possible through conventional, linear process chains. Digital technology and artificial intelligence (AI) can automate and speed up the recycling process, which has been performed manually so far. The dismantling process can be partly or highly automated using robotics technology.
Integration of systems for optical and AI-assisted detection and sorting of reusable materials can significantly improve the quality and purity of materials. The project will develop sensor technology using AI-based materials detection and other spectroscopic methods to identify different steel and aluminum alloys to obtain raw materials with a higher degree of purity.
The BMW Group is leading another consortium project, Future Sustainable Car Materials, working on innovative process routes and material concepts for the sustainable use of secondary materials and for reducing the carbon footprint of raw materials such as steel and aluminum.