BMW is developing a new platform for future electric vehicles called the Neue Klasse. The first products to use the new architecture will arrive in 2025, but will deliver more than just electric propulsion. The Neue Klasse model will also incorporate recycled fishing nets and ropes into its interior and exterior trim pieces.
In collaboration with the Danish company Plastix, BMW has a process that turns nets and ropes into plastic pellets suitable for injection molding. The automaker plans to use recycled plastic scraps in visible and invisible pieces of interior and exterior trim, with 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 about 20 percent today to 40 percent by 2030.
This process keeps nets and ropes from polluting oceans and landfills and results in a lower carbon footprint – 25 percent less than conventionally produced plastic. BMW already uses a recycled nylon called Econyl to make synthetic yarn, which the company uses for the floor mats of the BMW iX and BMW X1.
BMW’s push towards electrification also includes a push towards sustainability. In 2021, the automaker unveiled the i Vision Circular concept car, a four-seater EV that uses 100 percent recycled materials, including the battery pack. BMW designs cars to fulfill four principles: Re:think, Re:duce; reuse; return: cycle.
Automakers, large and small, have been incorporating recycled materials into their vehicles for years, and the drive to reduce global greenhouse emissions, eliminate waste, and reduce pollution is making companies think creatively about the future of car manufacturing. BMW wants to cut its global global CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2030, including cleaning up manufacturing processes.
Recycled materials are likely to become more integral in the car manufacturing process in the years to come. The first Neue Klasse to arrive will be a compact electric sedan, followed by a compact SUV. The platform will be able to support the ICE powertrain, which will last in the M model until at least 2030.