On the face of things, it seems pretty hard to argue against the environmentally friendly credentials of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and most of all completely electric cars, especially when compared to traditional gas and diesel models.
However, dig a little deeper and look at the manufacturing and end-of-life disposal of these vehicles and the picture starts to become a little less clear. A big issue is what to do with the lithium-ion batteries when they are no longer up to the job of powering the vehicle, and BMW is the latest motor manufacturer to come up with a solution.
In fact, what BMW is doing not only goes some way to solving the problem of spent EV batteries. The use the German luxury auto giant has found for them also addresses one of the problems facing wind power as a renewable energy source.
In a statement on Thursday BMW revealed that it was now linking 700 of what it calls “second-life” electric car batteries from its i3 model, which it then uses to store some of the power generated by four wind turbines at its Leipzig Storage Farm. The stored power will then be used in its production chain for building more new vehicles. The models currently built at the site include the electric i3 and plug-in hybrid i8, as well as 1 Series and 2 Series models that now include the Active Tourer.
The initiative is aimed at helping BMW reduce its demand for electricity during peak times at its Leipzig facility. It’s designed with the dual purpose in mind of both protecting the environment and moving the automaker further toward EVs. BMW is unsurprisingly looking at expanding the project, including adding more turbines in the future, although at the moment the decision to go forward with expanding the project “remains open,” according to BMW CEO Harald Krüger.
To give an idea of the scale of the project already, the current storage capacity is said to be enough to power as many as 50,000 households for a month, which it has to be said is pretty impressive.
BMW has already previously stated it plans to have 25 electrified vehicles, which will include as many as 12 EVs, by 2025 as it goes along a similar route to rival manufacturers such as the Volkswagen Group and Daimler in expanding its lineup of electrified vehicles. – AFP Relaxnews