GA Trade Mar-Apr interactive - page 23

GAT:
What role do energy efficiency
and sustainability play for BMW in
the U.S.? In which way is the new
all-electric BMW i3 a game changer?
ME:
The success of the BMW
Group has always been built on
long-term thinking and responsible
action. At BMW, we regard sustain-
ability as a lasting and positive
contribution within three key areas:
ecology (impact on the environ-
ment), economy (impact on our
financial success) and society
(impact on the social climate).
We consider awareness of social
responsibility to be an inseparable
part of our corporate self-concep-
tion. That is why our commitment
to clean production spans every
plant in BMW’s global production
network, including Spartanburg.
For over a decade, the plant in
South Carolina has used methane
from a local landfill to provide
nearly 50 percent of the total energy
used in the plant. It is a unique
and exciting project that was started
in 2003, saves over $5 million in
energy costs annually and reduces
CO
2
emissions. We also operate the
world’s largest single-site hydrogen
fuel cell fleet of material handling
equipment. With over 280 pieces
in the fleet, this program delivers
about 400kg of hydrogen per day
and avoids 4.1 million kW/hours
per year.
Regarding the BMW i3, first of all,
BMW’s plant in Leipzig was awarded
the i3 model in 2009, near the end of
the global recession. It was definitely
a relief for the plant to have this new
product and presented an exciting
new future of mobility. The develop-
ment of this car was interesting for
me. To have a chance in your career
to create, to plan, and to realize a new
product at a new production hall with
a lot of new people is very unique. It
was a wonderful experience to be able
to bring innovation to life.
Because the i3 is such an innovative
product, we had to be proactive
and anticipate problems along the
way. We worked quickly to find
sustainable solutions. In Leipzig,
like Spartanburg, quality, safety
and efficiency are the most impor-
tant goals. I believe the i3 will do
very well in the U.S. market.
The challenge for the Leipzig
plant, and the carbon fiber plant
in Moses Lake, Washington, will
definitely be to keep pace with
the demand.
n
W E L C O M E T O T H E C - S U I T E
German American Trade Mar/Apr 2014
23
BMW Associate, Eric Williams, adjusts headlights in the test area.
Manfred Erlacher inspects the instrument panel of a BMW prior to it leaving the plant.
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