BMW is recycling nickel, lithium and cobalt from EV batteries in China

The joint venture BMW Brillian’s Automotive in China has just set up a closed-loop for recycling critical battery components as German carmakers move toward climate neutrality.

China’s policies require the installation of high-voltage battery tracing systems to ensure batteries can be tracked and recycled at the end of their life cycle. BMW’s systems use coding to track batteries across the entire value chain, from initial test vehicles to vehicles already on the market.

Batteries returned to BMW are evaluated and either reused or reused. The brand currently operates forklifts with recycled batteries at its BBA plant. In case of battery recycling, BMW is able to reuse nickel, lithium and cobalt to make new battery cells. Most of these batteries come from development vehicles, test systems, production rejects and will eventually include the last vehicles of life.

Read more: Redwood Materials is working with Ford and Volvo to recycle EV parts

BMW says the closed-loop recycling loop reduces CO2 emissions by 70 percent compared to the use of newly extracted primary components.

“In light of the growing scarcity of limited resources and rising commodity prices, it is especially important to move forward with the circular economy, increase the percentage of recyclable materials and reduce our dependence on raw materials,” said Joachim Golar, head of BMW Group China. “The BMW Group will expand its recycling concept in China in the future – which will not only contribute to environmental protection, but will effectively support the transformation of China into a low CO2 economy.”

The China Automotive Technology and Research Center predicts that by 2025, the amount of retired batteries in the country will reach 780,000 tons.

BMW is committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2050 in its entire value chain. It plans to make about 10 percent of the lineup sold this year in electric vehicles, and by 2030, expects at least 50 percent of its sales to be for EVs.

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