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BMW Uncovers World’s First Alloy Wheels Made With 100 Percent Recycled Aluminum

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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As part of its commitment to achieving high standards for quality, design, safety and mechanical properties, German auto giant, BMW Group, has uncovered the first fully electric MINI Cooper SE Convertible built on alloy wheels made from 100 percent recycled aluminium.

The first use of 100 per cent secondary aluminium for light-alloy wheels on a series-production vehicle is one of BMW’s goals of leading the way in terms of the circular economy.

Announcing the World’s First Alloy Wheels

In collaboration with the wheel maker Ronal, BMW’s first set of light alloy wheels made entirely of secondary aluminium will be used in a series-production vehicle. Consistent recycling of aluminium not only preserves raw material supplies but also does away with the often energy-intensive electrolysis process required to create light alloys.

BMW Alloy Wheel with Alluminium
BMW Alloy Wheel with Alluminium Car | Image credit: BMW

The new MINI Cooper SE Convertible will be the first series model to be built with alloy wheels that are fully constructed from recycled aluminium, with a combined power consumption of 17.2kWh/100 km according to WLTP and carbon emissions of 0 g/km.

Commenting on the new MINI Cooper SE Convertible, Dr Nicolai Martin, the Senior Vice President of Development of Automated Driving, said the fully electric open-top four-light seater’s alloy wheels are a shining example of resource-efficient use.

“As a premium manufacturer we have entrenched sustainability in the development from very early on, said Dr Nicolai Martin, the light alloy wheels of the fully electric open-top four-seater are a prime example of sustainable resource use, and they represent an important milestone on the road to a circular economy for the BMW Group.”

Reinventing the Wheel on Four Basic Principles

The BMW Group stated that it is moving forward with the effective implementation of a circular economy by the four basic principles of Re:think, Re:duce, Re:use, and Re:cycle. The development of the first 100% recycled aluminium alloy wheels is in line with this philosophy.

The new MINI Cooper SE Convertible has been rethought in terms of sustainability, not only the alloy wheels. It is the world’s first open-top fully electric luxury automobile to be produced in a small number.

The model stands out from the competition because of the combination of a lightweight support wheel manufactured from 100 per cent recycled aluminium, aerodynamically enhanced actual metal inlays, and an original centre cap.

The support wheel, which is made entirely from recycled light alloy, fully complies with the structural specifications and high-quality standards set forth by the BMW Group. Meanwhile, the inlays enhance the MINI Cooper SE Convertible’s aerodynamic capabilities and extend its range.

Reducing Carbon Emissions

As compared to conventionally produced wheels, the wheel provider has been able to minimize carbon emissions at its production plant by up to 75% by using secondary materials with a carbon footprint of less than 0.16 kg of carbon per kilogram of aluminium. Concretely speaking, this results in a reduction in carbon emissions from 130 kg to 30 kg.

The MINI community now actively lives the delight of sustainability thanks to the continual use of circular economy ideas. Participants in a pilot initiative aimed at gradually reducing demand for key raw materials are MINI Cooper SE Convertible drivers who have recycled aluminium alloy wheels on their vehicles.

For the first time, the BMW Group has established a material cycle for top-grade wheels with the alloy wheels on the MINI Cooper SE Convertible, opening the door for continued use of the raw material.

The first demonstration of the viability of the lofty sustainability goals for the circular economy is the use of wheels made entirely of recycled aluminium in a modest run. The MINI Cooper SE Convertible’s world debut also paves the way for expanding the unique manufacturing method for usage in the next large-series cars.

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