BMW Makes Cars Greener by Tapping Own Wind Power, Old Batteries

Written by Elisabeth Behrmann and Brian Parkin. This article first appeared in Bloomberg Technology. 

BMW AG is tapping its own wind turbines and recycled batteries to power machines that make cars like its i3 all-electric model, adding a new shade of green to its production chain.

The carmaker is linking 700 “second-life” i3 electric-car batteries to store power from four wind turbines located at its so-called Storage Farm in Leipzig, which will help it build new i3s and 1- and 2-Series models, the Munich-based carmaker said Thursday.

The move to link wind power with old electric-car batteries is aimed at helping BMW shave its demand for electricity at peak times at its factory in Leipzig. It’s both meant to protect the environment and shift BMW toward electric cars. The company may expand the project, including adding more turbines.

The decision on expansion “remains open,” BMW Chief Executive Officer Harald Krueger told reporters in Leipzig. The linked batteries and storage management mean the company has the ability to store energy, he said. The project is scalable and help making the harnessing of second-life batteries profitable, said Kruger.

BMW will also sell excess energy onto the grid. Current storage capacity is enough to power 50,000 households for one month.

BMW’s i3 plant is a “blueprint for us,” said Joachim Koller, BMW’s head of energy services at the same event. The company on Thursday celebrated the roll-out of the 100,000th i3 from the conveyors at Leipzig.

BMW hopes to become the leading producer of premium electric vehicles, with plans to add the i8 Roadster to its fleet. In 2025, BMW will have 25 electric cars in its salesrooms, it stated in a separate email.

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