The BMW Group is once again setting the standard for the circular economy. The new MINI Cooper SE Convertible, with a combined power consumption of 17.2kWh/100 km according to the 'Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure' (WLTP) and carbon emissions of 0 g/km, will be the foremost series model to be produced with alloy wheels 100 per cent from recycled aluminium.
The Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) is a chassis dynamometer test cycle for determining emissions and fuel consumption from light-duty vehicles.
Dr Nicolai Martin, Senior Vice President of Development Automated Driving, said, “As a premium manufacturer, we entrenched sustainability in the development from very early on. The light alloy wheels of the fully electric open-top four-seater are a prime example of sustainable resource use. They represent an important milestone on the road to a circular economy for the BMW Group.”
According to the latest industry-focused report of AlCircle, ‘Global Aluminium Industry Outlook 2023’, it states that the demand is likely to reach 26.3 million tonnes of aluminium usage in the automobile sector and will continue to increase as the need for lighter, fuel-efficient, and safer vehicles have been steadily growing aluminium is used in the car body, wheels, and transmission along with traditional applications.
Demand for aluminium wheels is increasing in the automotive industry. The standard aluminium wheels produced in Europe used 60 per cent primary aluminium and 40 per cent recycled aluminium. Then Ronal Group, based in Harlingen, Switzerland, developed a carbon-neutral R70-blue wheel, which used 40 per cent primary aluminium and 60 per cent recycled aluminium. Now, BMW, the pioneer in the usage of 100 per cent secondary aluminium for light-alloy wheels on a series-production vehicle, is in cooperation with the wheel manufacturer Ronal.
Using recycled aluminium regularly protects raw material resources and avoids the often energy-intensive electrolysis procedure required to manufacture light alloys.
Developing the first 100 per cent recycled aluminium alloy wheels aligns with the BMW Group's efforts to successfully implement a circular economy following the four fundamental principles of Re: think, Re:duce, Re:use, and Re:cycle.
The new MINI Cooper SE Convertible has been re-thought regarding sustainability, not only the alloy wheels. It is the world's first open-top, fully electric luxury automobile to be produced in a small series.
The wheel supplier has reduced carbon emissions at its production facility by up to 75 per cent compared to conventionally produced wheels using secondary materials with a carbon footprint of less than 0.16 kg per kilogramme of aluminium. In concrete terms, carbon emissions are decreasing from around 130 kg to approximately 30 kg.