Sustainability has been a guiding BMW Group principle for decades. In addition to making an important contribution to protecting the environment, it also safeguards the company’s viability in the future. Even at a time when competitors considered low fuel consumption merely a selling point in terms of low running costs, the BMW Group was already aiming for more: minimising greenhouse gases by considerably reducing its internal-combustion engines’ CO2 emissions. This was all done on a voluntary basis, given that there were no legally defined CO2 limits at the time. In addition, the BMW Group has been significantly reducing the emissions of its production plants worldwide for many years now.

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1973: The global automotive industry’s first environmental officer is appointed by the BMW Group and begins work.

1995 to 2018: Reducing the BMW Group fleet’s CO2 emissions by 42 per cent.

2005: Initial presentation of BMW EfficientDynamics with second-generation petrol direct injection (High Precision Injection) and the BMW Concept X3 EfficientDynamics featuring a hybrid powertrain.

Since 2006: Reducing the BMW Group vehicle production plants’ CO2 emissions by nearly 62 per cent.

2007: BMW becomes the first manufacturer to introduce a technology package designed to minimise its vehicles’ CO2 emissions, called BMW EfficientDynamics. (Particulars included Auto Start/Stop, brake energy regeneration, air flap control, direct injection, weight-reducing measures.)

2013: Launch of the BMW i3, the most sustainable electric vehicle for urban and suburban driving to date. With the i3, BMW became the electric pioneer among premium brands.

2014: Introduction of the BMW i8, the first BMW plug-in hybrid model and at the same time the first plug-in hybrid sports car in the world made by a large-scale manufacturer.

2019: The BMW Group offers eleven electrified models (plug-in hybrids/PHEV and Battery Electric Vehicles/BEV) able to cover significant distances without generating local emissions. No competitor offers this much choice.

Planned for 2023: 25 electrified models in the showrooms, more than half of them fully electric.

Each electrified model has to prove that the sum of the CO2 emissions from its raw materials sourcing, supply chain, assembly, service life and recycling is substantially lower than that of its conventionally powered counterpart.

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The BMW Group has developed an integrated sustainability approach for its electric mobility strategy. It only launches vehicles with electrified powertrains when they make ecological and economic sense for the customer, rather than introducing them as soon as they are technically feasible. BMW i follows the principle that every electric car should have a substantially better carbon footprint – viewed holistically, i.e. including the supply chain, production, service life and recycling – than an equivalent conventionally powered vehicle.
As far back as 2013, the BMW i3 received an official ISO certificate confirming that this was the case, from the independent German TÜV inspection and certification service. The new BMW 330e and 745e/Le plug-in hybrid models enjoy the same ISO certification for their entire life cycle. Regularly charged with “green energy”, the BMW 330e boasts a 60-per-cent CO2 emissions advantage across its entire life cycle from production to recycling, compared to a petrol car. Even when charged with the “average European electricity mix”, the advantage is still over 20 percent – assuming in both cases a lifetime mileage of 200,000 kilometres. It’s much the same for the BMW 745e: an independent TÜV assessment concluded that the greenhouse potential of the electrified BMW 7 Series over the car’s entire life cycle is 33 per cent lower than that of an equivalent BMW 7 Series with a conventional powertrain. With exclusive use of renewable energy, the amount of CO2 emitted across the vehicle’s entire life cycle and affecting the climate is even 58 per cent lower, based on a lifetime mileage of 250,000 kilometres.

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Over the time period from 1995 to 2018, the BMW Group vehicle fleet’s fuel consumption dropped by a remarkable 42 per cent. This was mainly due to the continuous improvement of petrol and diesel engines and BMW EfficientDynamics. Even though vehicle weights grew over the same period, given the inclusion of increasing numbers of safety and comfort features, fuel consumption was – and will continue to be – cut significantly as a result of internal engine design changes, aerodynamics optimisations and intelligent lightweight construction. Combined with innovative and highly complex emissions control technologies, this makes for a considerable reduction in emissions; not just of CO2, but also other combustion products such as nitrogen oxides. Measurements and analyses performed by independent bodies for example showed that the BMW two-litre four-cylinder diesel engine – as used in the 320d for example – has NOx emissions that are far below the current limits. At less than 30 mg NOx/km the engine is even below the limit for petrol engines (40 mg NOx/km), which are generally taken to be the cleaner technology. For long-distance drivers, diesels remain the first choice – above all for cost reasons.

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