BMW sets up closed-loop recycling system for high-voltage batteries in China

BMW has created the group’s first closed-loop recycling system for high-voltage batteries in China, boosting its commitment to achieving climate neutrality, the German carmaker said on Wednesday.

The system established by the group’s Chinese joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd. (BBA) complies with environmental requirements in China that oblige carmakers to enable a tracking system so that more batteries can be recycled.

“In light of the growing scarcity of finite resources and rising commodity prices, it is especially important to push forward with the circular economy, increase the percentage of reusable materials and reduce our dependence on raw materials,” said Jochen Goller, head of BMW Group Region China.

The China Automotive Technology and Research Centre expects the total volume of retired batteries in China to reach around 780,000 tons by 2025. BMW’s closed-loop system will process raw materials such as nickel, lithium and cobalt.

Two out of three battery electric vehicles (BEVs) sold worldwide in the first quarter (Q1) of 2022 found new owners in China, according to a recent study by auditing and consulting services company PwC Strategy & (Germany).

China’s BEV market more than doubled in size within one year, hitting the one-million-unit mark in Q1, the study said. “Growth rates in China continued to outperform other key electric vehicle markets.”

“China is the world’s largest market for electric vehicles,” BMW said. “With the rapid development of this market since 2015, the automotive battery recycling industry has also experienced fast growth.”